Rev. Moon spoke to Americans when he first came here. In his Day of Hope tours he began by saying that he had "some new revelations from God" to tell. He said that in doing so he will "frequently mention the chosen people of Israel." He goes on to say that those in the audience are primarily Christians and Jews and that he "dearly" loves his "Christian brothers and sisters" and has "high esteem for the Jewish people." He "beg"s them to understand "that what I will say in no way reflects my personal feeling." He is being as diplomatic as he can, but no shirking his awesome responsibility to give Gods judgement to them. In other words, dont kill the messenger. God is upset at both the Jews and the Christians. He says, "Sometimes testimony to the truth is a painful task. Yet it is a mission " and "my duty to fulfill." He warns the audience that they are going to hear painful things: "The content of my message tonight may be contrary to your previous understandings. Some things may be very new to you. I would like to ask that you think over seriously what you are about to hear." As I write it has been over twenty years since he said this and America has not been listening to him. What little they have heard they have dismissed and some consider him a tyrant like Hitler. Gradually though time will heal this. Rev. Moon is not immortal and will die and like Christianity in its early days will continue to grow in spite of the ignorance and intolerance of the world. But unlike Christianity the messiah this time completed his mission of giving the whole truth and in creating a family that will be the seed for ideal families in the coming ideal world. He asks that people be "openminded so that the spirit of God can speak directly into our hearts" but so far they havent. Christianity still is divided and fighting each other.
He says, "The history of mankind is therefore a history of evil." He gets poetic and speaks in parables sometime to help us understand saying, "God sowed good seed, and He intended to harvest a good crop. But Satan stole His crop before it was ripened and reaped a harvest of evil. Human history is a crop of weeds." So his message and that of the Divine Principle is tragic. There have been countless good deeds done in human history. He acknowledges this saying, "Throughout history there have been many righteous people who" led "sacrificial lives" but overall life is basically a vale of tears because Satan is the god of this world. Mankind is deeply lost and confused and therefore divided. But Rev. Moon calls his message one of "hope" because even though everyone has been infected with Satans ignorance we live in the greatest time in human history because God has been finally able to reveal his basic truths through Rev. Moon.
Gods tactic to win a victory over Satan is not to wave a magic wand. He is against magic wanders. God is down to earth. Why not? He created it! Rev. Moon explains Gods plan of fighting back to get control of the earth again: "It has been the strategy of God to summon champions out of this evil world in order to restore the world and build His kingdom. To understand His ways, let us therefore examine the history of Gods providence." He goes on to say that Abel was Gods first champion. The famous literary critic Clifton Fadiman correctly judged America for giving up on heros. (find quote in his book Lifetime Reading Plan) He said, Lets look at some of Gods champions in Western civilization for the last 2000 years. We will end of course with the greatest champion God has ever sent -- Rev. Moon.
Every seminary should have a class on the Divine Principle. Every school should study the Divine Principle and Rev. Moons life. No one is educated until they do. The Divine Principle will someday be the hottest topic in the world. Families will argue over it during dinner and many families may be divided over it. But eventually everyone will see that it is a logical and uplifting philosophy, just as gravity explained how the world is round. But before there is the dawn of the ideal world we have to pass through the darkest time before the dawn in which Gods greatest champion is treated to everything from bloody beatings and concentration camps in his own country to be ridiculed and jailed in America that says it honors freedom of religion.
Rev. Moon is no joke and he is no Hitler. He is the savior of the world and someday everyone will be humble enough to honor him by bowing to him and studying his words and deeds to gain the strength and knowledge to overcome Satan. Rev. Moon is not laughing all the way to the bank after taking money from young people who were his mindless slaves and abused with long hours of abusive work. He is working harder than they are and weeping for the suffering of mankind and pushing everyone and himself to end the pain and death. He looks like a religious fanatic and that scares people because religious fanatics have usually hurt people. But he is different. He is the exception to the rule. Out of the scams he has a genuine opportunity. He is on fire to save lives -- not build some church. The original title doesnt even say the word church. It is called an "association." And thats exactly what it is. A temporary organization to bring world unity. When the world is united then we dont need that organization. It is just a means to the end. The "end" is a world filled with perfect associations called families, not some monolithic church.
He says, "Marriage is the most important means of establishing Gods kingdom on earth." He never says some church is the focus. Rev. Moon is not all that concerned with politics. It is important, but so is diet and entertainment. He doesnt focus on talking about what politicians or nutritionists or entertainers do. If you read books that contain his thousands of speeches you wont find much on politics and economics or sports or all the areas of life. He almost always talks of the Bible and families. He comes to marry people and build perfect marriages and families. He is an expert on relationships especially between God and man and between man and wife. He is obsessed with it. No one in human history has ever worked harder than him. Former members leave exhausted and say they were abused and taken advantage of but nothing is accomplished without hard work. And Rev. Moon has worked harder than any person in human history. He has cried more tears than any person in history. He has taken on the greatest job and he has succeeded in building a perfect marriage. Mrs. Moon has been through more than anyone could possibly imagine. Rev. Moon said once his life is like sitting on a pin. He cant make one false move. The lives of every person on this planet forever depends on him and God has had to watch his champion be laughed at and beaten. He knows Gods broken heart and he is in a hurry.
He says we should be desperate to witness. Do Red Cross workers work strict eight hours shifts when they are in Africa handing out food to 100,000 starving people in front of them? No. They work round the clock. But those workers will probably eventually take a vacation sometime each year. The president of the Red Cross will take a vacation each year. The Messiah doesnt. And what will be the response to him when he tells everyone to not take one until there isnt any Hungary people anymore? He will be called a slave driver. But he practices what he preaches. Rev. Moon understands that we are fallen and cant keep up and has said that if someone gets burned out or tired they should not leave the mission but sit on the sidelines until they recuperate. Unfortunately, there have been some in leadership position in his organization that have not given that option to members. So members felt that if they dont keep up they will guilty of hurting God, the messiah , their ancestors, their country, their neighbors and themselves. The pressure is tremendous but Rev. Moon teaches everyone to pace themselves. He often says victory is right around the corner, but he also teaches this is a marathon race. His mission is to focus on building good marriages that he calls "blessed." God has revealed to him that if we have ideal marriages we will have an ideal world. Religion is the most important study. It is the key to world peace. Not political systems like socialism, or vegetarianism or Shakespeare
Rev. Moon is for freedom. He is for tolerance. In that atmosphere the Divine Principle will win because if it is heard it will eventually touch everyones hearts, even professionals in Religious studies and religious leaders. Also in an atmosphere of freedom, the correct political, economic, dietary, literature, and every other discipline will arise. Rev. moon does not have all the answers. He does not reveal how to get energy from fission, cure cancer, play musical instruments, make the blind see or give the final statement on fashion. He is a man, not God. He has a part to play, but each of us do to. He is the world wide messiah, but he tells us that we are messiahs too and in our area of excellence we are to make our contribution and make the world a better place to live. For some that will mean they will become famous and for many others it will not. But we are all important and loved by God. Does a good parent love one child more than the other because that child becomes famous? Of course not.
Rev. Moon is a master teacher. To help us understand God he often gives vivid examples to help us see the situation. He often illustrates Gods situation by saying they are like David against Goliath. David is little and the enemy is big. Jesus was little and Judaism was big. Rev. Moon and the Unification Church is little but will win over the goliath of Christianity and all other religions that dominate the world. How will he do this? With a slingshot and rock? With guns and tanks? ABC, NBC and CBS think so. They show literal pictures of tanks and Hitler when talking of Rev. Moon. But that is not Gods way. Like David, Gods side must fight as America did in its wars of defense. The Department of Defense used to be called the Department of War. This is Gods way. In Gods defense the sword can be used, but in Gods offense only the pen can be used. And Rev. Moon is a fanatic on education and he welcomes all viewpoints in a spirit of freedom. He creates universities and wants nothing more than having the Divine Principle book and his speeches in every home. As of this writing, most libraries dont even have the Churchs official Divine Principle book. I encourage those who believe in the Principle to put them in public libraries and to advertise in the media directing people to go hear them. Rev. Moon has said often that he wants the principle in video and on the Internet. God is asking us, pleading us, begging us to witness, to teach to evangelize, to shout it from the housetops as the Bible says. We live in a modern age and our housetops should have a satellite dish that beams in the Divine Principle into our home. It is a cultural war and our main fight is to win with truth.
Rev. Moon speaks out strongly against any church becoming corrupt and focusing on itself more than others. He teaches that the Protestant movement started because the "Medieval church hierarchies were interested in their own power, their own authority, and their own welfare." He hates this and will not stand for it in his own church. He says the church had "formidable power both politically and economically. The hierarchy preserved this power, abused this power, and forgot about Gods purpose. They clung tenaciously to their positions and ruthlessly persecuted any opponent." Does this sound like a anti-Christ who America and the world must tremble in fear of because he wants to take over the earth. Rev. Moon teaches against the abuse of power. He has never abused any power he has and has spent the billions that have been entrusted with him to serve other people. Even his house he explains is used for meeting with members and world leaders. He is not interested in wealth and fame for himself or his family or even his church. He is interested in everybody hearing the truth and getting together to come up a plan to solve the worlds problems. That is why he creates many specific organizations that bring together religious leaders in one organization and political leaders in another and the media in still another. He has relief agencies and sport teams. He doesnt do this as a few former members write and the media cynically assumes to stroke his ego and deceive people to give him money and power. He hates the abuse of Power because God has had to watch Satan influence men to abuse power since day one.
Rev. Moon criticizes the Catholic church for its abuse of Power not because he hates the Catholic church ,but because God asks him to tell everyone to learn from their mistakes and that He was behind the Protestant Reformation because the popes and catholic religious leaders he says, "The Christian spirit in these men was absolutely dead."
"God", he says, "had to continue forward. ... The church needed reform, so religious revolution came. Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation. ... Throughout the land, righteous people determined to win liberation from the old doctrines and practices." Im quoting from a speech called Christianity in Crisis that he gave at Madison Square Garden when he first arrived in America. That speech and others that he gave publicly and some to church members is in a book called Gods Will that you can order from the UC. He goes on to say that the average person "wanted to worship God, not the church." Does this sound like someone who wants the UC to be focus of the world? No. He wants God to be the focus. And since God is speaking through him and he is living Gods truth, then we must focus on Rev. Moon and study him and follow him and those leaders in his movement that represent him. Those leaders who focus on worshiping the church by pushing attendance to Sunday service and tithing and Rev. Moons campaigns over prayer, love of God, studying Gods word, building a good family and using their individual creativity to love their neighbor and creating a loving church community should not be followed. Going to church on Sunday and tithing are far down the ladder of the hierarchy of values. If the individual person is just a cog in some machine with no brain and creativity, then it doesnt matter if there is Sunday services and tithing it will decline and no one will join because individual spiritual growth and happiness in being in a community is the prerequisite for growth. No church, nation or business or family can grow physically, spiritually , intellectually, if the members are not nourished and respected for their unique personalities and how God can work mysteriously through them.. The little person, the average person, must be honored and listened to and when he or she gives good input then the organization must respond to it. Too often, religious people get power and forget about grass roots power being more powerful than power in some headquarters. They start focusing on how they are to be respected and looking down in arrogance to the average member out in the boondocks.
The hardest thing for those in leadership is to listen and encourage listening and being a facilitator for creativity. They want cookie cutter people marching completely in unison. There must be a blend of ritual and traditions and organization and hierarchy in any organization but God is always interested in people, not organizations. God wants people to follow him more than other people. Rev. Moon is more interested in decentralizing power than in centralizing power. Always he has sent what few followers he has out to pioneer where there are no members. He writes in regard to the Protestants what he himself teaches his own church (but not always heard) :"Direct communication with God was their desire. They helped God bring the world, step by step, closer to the ultimate goal."
He teaches in public and private that the only way to win peoples hearts and minds is non violently. This is one of the reasons he says Martin Luther King was the greatest American in the 20th century. Also because he was against racism.
Rev. Moon teaches that Christianity grew in the Roman Empire because love , not swords: "Rome was the target because at that time Rome was the world. For the world to be saved, Rome had to be conquered by the army of Jesus Christ. But this was an impossible battle, an inconceivable goal. The Roman Empire appeared as an impregnable fortress not subject to conquest. Jesus army was barehanded. They used no weapons, neither swords nor spears. They were armed only with their love of God and Jesus Christ. They marched fearlessly onward, in conviction and strength. They paid the price in blood and sacrifice."
Rev. moon and some of his followers have paid that same price. And he asks and even demands that we take responsibility for saving this world from physical and spiritual hunger by using our unique personalities to blend with other members and create organizations and do things individually at the kitchen table or wherever and make this world a better place to live. It is sad beyond words that former members, the media and many ministers cant see Rev. Moons goodness. He is threat all right. A threat to Satan who blinds everyone with his false teachings.
The Unification Church has had its share of fallen leaders who do not represent him. This is why there are former members and why so few have joined over the years. Gods champions are leaders. Leadership the key to Gods method to gain victory. God needs leaders to represent him and Rev. Moon. Sadly the leadership has not understood Rev. Moon and what he wants. They too often got into worshiping Sunday service and tithing and even asking for all the money one has. And they were too concerned about their position and in being harsh and not giving some people a chance to take a slower course. In their zeal they were often motivated to get results to report to Rev. Moon but didnt see the long term picture and misinterpreted restoration as being that they were Abel and the members were Cain and had to restore their fallen natures by blindly following and never thinking. We all must respect leaders and give up our individual wishes especially in an emergency time such as fighting in wars such as World War II, but some leaders in the church rationalize and invent an interpretation of the Divine Principle or Rev. Moon's demanding goals as pushing leadership to become dictators and emotionally and occasionally physically abusive. In time this will lessen as the church members mature.
Its very hard to be a leader and walk the line between freedom and authority. There are times when you push and then dont.
Unification News for June 1997
The Odyssey of New Religions Today
Rev. Dean M. Kelley
In this book John Biermans has made three important contributions. He has gathered together the pertinent findings of social science researchers and courts of law on the subject of new religious movements and the persecution they suffer. He has added the insights of his own personal experience as a member of the Unification Church who has been the victim of an unsuccessful attempt at "deprogramming". And he has included information from his files gathered as one of the staff attorneys of the Unification Church, recording the experience of other members at the hands of would-be faithbreakers.
These contributions are very much needed to counter the prevailing misinformation and hysteria about "cults" which have been so successfully spread by articulate anti-cultists and sensation-seeking media. The average person has little opportunity to survey the scholarly literature on the issue and so is unaware that most of it does not support the anti-cult hysteria, which is largely based on atrocity tales disseminated by apostates and equally unreliable allegations circulated by a handful of mental health practitioners who appear to know very little about religion.
At the scholarly conferences of the Religious Research Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Association for the Sociology of Religion, numerous research papers are presented on the various new religious movements by highly regarded observers like Gordon Melton, David Bromley, Anson Shupe, Tom Robbins, Dick Anthony, Eileen Barker, James Richardson, Herbert Richardson, the late William Shepherd, and many others (I mention these names because I happen to know these individuals and have respected their work over the years). They represent the prevailing consensus in the community of students of religious behavior, and that consensus views the anticultists' shrill denunciations as simply contrary to the general body of empirical evidence gathered by people who are not trying to foment a vendetta against "the cults."
It is, of course, quite possible that some individuals have had a bad experience with a particular new religious group at some particular time and place, just as there are individuals who have had a bad experience with one or another of the older and more conventional religions. But a few bad experiences do not necessarily discredit an entire category of organizations in other walks of life.
A similar common-sense perspective needs to be brought to the study of new religious movements, and John Biermans' sampling of the scholarly literature helps to restore perspective on that subject.
It is helpful, within that perspective, and contributing to it, to have the views of some "insiders", since outsiders alone, however objective or sympathetic, cannot fully interpret the experience of any religion. Insiders' accounts, taken alone, can of course be as misleading and self-serving on the one side as critics' and apostates' testimony on the other. But they provided a needed depth to the perspective which can be gained from no other source. In studying any social organization, particularly religion, one needs to ask, "How do they see themselves?" One should not be content with that data alone, but one should certainly not omit it, lest the result be the kind of outsider's caricature which is typical of muckraking journalism and anti-cult polemic. In this book John Biermans combines an insider's insight with extensive quotations and references from scholarly research and court decisions, which together give a three-dimensional perspective of verisimilitude.
In a way, it is a pity such a book as this should be needed. It should not be necessary in a land which prides itself on esteem for religious liberty (at least in the abstract) to insist that members of new religious movements really are human beings entitled to as much respect for their religious choices as anyone else. But when there are organized alarmists and detractors with articulate spokespersons who have made lucrative careers out of denouncing and combating "cults", then at least some countermeasures are needed. And those of us who cannot make careers out of countermeasures owe a debt of gratitude to the few, like John Biermans, who have taken time from more constructive endeavors to try to set the record straight.
It is even more remarkable that an entire chapter and more should be necessary to try to counter the bizarre but prevalent notion that there is some secret technique of "mind control" or "brainwashing" or "coercive persuasion" which enables some sinister cult leaders to gain total mastery over the wills of other persons without their consent. It should not require lengthy and scholarly argumentation to establish the absurdity of this notion, but apparently it does, and even then many will not be convinced, any more than the average inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century could be disabused of the notions of demon possession and witchcraft.
Even a moment's commonsense reflection should enable one to realize that if someone had perfected the art of enslaving others without the continuous application of physical coercion, he would have discovered a power which tyrants and sorcerers have been seeking for centuries, and he would not need to confine his ambitions to the relatively rickety instrument of a religious movement but could take over the world. That the leaders of so-called "cults" have no such magical powers is apparent from the facts that their recruiting efforts are relatively ineffective and that the rate of slippage from attrition (defections without outside intervention) is incredibly high. In fact, there is nothing in the phenomenon that cannot be explained by the age-old practices shared by older religions, the media, commercial advertising and political propaganda, and all protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Some may think that this book comes along after the worst is over and the dust has begun to settle. It is true that forcible deprogrammings are not as frequent as they were a few years ago, but they still occur. The three federal circuit courts of appeals which have ruled on the issue have found deprogrammers liable to their victims under the federal civil rights law, and none have found the contrary. Spokespersons for the anti-cult movements assure us that deprogramming is crude and passé, but it still goes on, and is still the greatest offense against religious liberty on this continent in the latter half of the 20th century.
The anti-cult movement has now professed to narrow its target to "destructive cults"-a term not known to social-science research in religion-and to characterize its work as simple "cult awareness education." Nevertheless, anticultists show no greater insight into, or respect for, the choices young adults make in religion than before. They insist that they are not violating anyone's religious liberty; they are merely trying to prevent actual harm to unsuspecting and victimized converts. It is certainly not a violation of religious liberty to warn people about the supposed dangers of some or all new religious movements, or to try to persuade those who are their members to depart (so long as force or threat of force is not used), even if the information relied on is faulty or biased (which it often is). That, too, is protected by the First Amendment (with a few narrow exceptions such as slander, libel and defamation). And there may indeed be some "cults" which are "destructive", though it is hard to see how that term applies to the groups about which the anticultists are so exercised, generally rather well-meaning, idealistic bands of people trying to do what they think God requires.
It seems that what really distresses the anticultists is conversion, especially to religious movements which make high demands of their members for commitment of the whole self to a spiritual cause. Apparently a gradual and partial commitment to a mild and conventional faith is permissible, but a sudden conversion to a rigorous and alien lifestyle with requirements of total allegiance to the faith is not. But religious liberty includes the right "to change (one's) religion or belief" (Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and to do so suddenly and totally, whether others like it or not. Cautions of prudence and circumspection are always in order. Everyone should "look before they leap" in religion as in others of life's ventures. But arbitrarily maligning new religions and impugning their motives is not in order-even if protected by the First Amendment-if one makes any claim to respect other people's religious liberty.
And applying to new religions a double standard, so that it is thought to be iniquitous for them to do what is permissible for other religions or for other human enterprises, is dishonest and pharisaic. For instance, the Scientologists were criticized for being "deceptive" and "underhanded" in buying property in Clearwater, Florida, under an assumed name when that is a standard practice in the real estate business, followed in the same period in nearby Orlando by the Walt Disney organization in buying up property for the development of Disney World. Giving wholehearted and unswerving loyalty to one's employer or labor union or lodge or (traditional) religion is thought to be a laudable thing, but giving such loyalty to a new religious movement is seen to be somehow pernicious.
As John Biermans and the many authors he quotes suggest, much of the hysteria generated by the anti-cult alarmists is needless. Most of the new religious movements are not deleterious to their members and may indeed improve their life situations. When they cease to meet their members' needs and interests, the members move on to other things without the need for personality-damaging outside intervention. If people could learn to respect the religious choices of their (adult) offspring and to retain some perspective and (uncommon) common sense about such matters, religious liberty would be in much better condition than it is today in the United States. This book should help contribute to that end.
The Myth of Brainwashing and Mind Control
Chris Corcoran Public Affairs Director Unification Church of America June 23, 1999
The charge that members of new religious movements (NRMs) are brainwashed has perhaps been the most widely publicized of all the allegations against them.
The concept of "brainwashing" originated as an attempt to explain what took place in prisoner of war camps during the Korean War. American soldiers were subjected to attempts by the Communists to change their political ideas about communism and capitalism through various depravations, group discussions and written confessions. This, of course, was done while they were being held under total physical coercion. As a result, during captivity, some gave the appearance of having been changed, but only a few were genuinely changed in their political views. 1
With the growth of NRMs in the US in the 1960s and 70s, many parents became alarmed at the sudden lifestyle change exhibited by their adult children after they had converted to a new faith. Many of these young adults left college and dedicated themselves to full-time work in their new faith community, oftentimes changing the manner of their appearance (as in the eastern robes of the Hare Krishna), and donating all of their money to the groups. Unable to accept this natural occurring conversion experience of their children, some parents hired professional faith breakers to illegally kidnap their adult children, confine them and "break them" until they recanted their new faith.
Thus was born in the early 1970s a new cottage industry which came to be called "deprogramming", undoubtedly borrowing a term from the emerging computer industry. More accurately, these "guns for hire" were professional "faith breakers" who assailed their victims with countless hours of imprisonment, restricted bathroom use, theological harangues, social vilification, sleep and food depravation, guilt and physical pain. In essence, the victim was spiritually raped until they "confessed" that they no longer believed in their new faith.
Despite the emotional appeal of the of the "brainwashing" theory, it has been repeatedly discredited and dismissed by a wide variety of sociologists, psychiatrists, theologians and others. Noted psychiatrist Thomas Szasz of the State University of New York in Syracuse says simply that no one can "wash brains". Instead, "brainwashing", like many dramatic terms, is a "metaphor." He adds: "A person can no more wash another's brain with coercion or conversation than he can make him bleed with a cutting remark. If there is no such thing as brainwashing, what does the metaphor stand for? It stands for one of the most universal human experiences and events, namely, for one person influencing another. However, we do not call all types of personal of psychological influences "brainwashing." We reserve this term for influence of which we disapprove." 2
The well known Harvard theologian Harvey Cox has this to say about "brainwashing": "The term "brainwashing" has no respectable standing in the scientific or psychiatric circles, and is used almost entirely to describe a process by which somebody has arrived at convictions that (another person) disagrees with." 3
There have been several well executed academic studies of Unification Church members during the last 20 years (see The Odyssey of New Religions Today, by John T. Biermans, The Edwin Mellon Press, Lewiston, NY, 1988.) After careful analysis and study by leading sociologists and psychiatrists, the conclusion reached was that there is no such activity that could be remotely construed as "brainwashing" in the Unification Church. In fact, several studies cited in the same book recount the beneficial aspects of being a member of a dynamic faith community.
Finally, after several highly publicized court cases involving the "kidnapping and deprogramming" controversy, courts have ruled and continue to rule against allowing the theories about "brainwashing" to be admitted as evidence. The theories have been dismissed as pseudo-science and no longer have any merit in the academic community.
Also, at the same time, courts and law enforcement began to recognize that individuals' rights were being trampled upon and stiff sentences were being handed down on the kidnappers and their associates.
Hundreds of members of NRMs suffered at the hands of these professional faith breakers and many families were torn apart by them. This social phenomenon of the 1970s and 80s will surely be remembered as one of the worst instances of gross human rights violations in US history. Fortunately, science and the law has prevailed to bring about justice on this issue.
1 Donald T. Lunde and Thomas E. Wilson, "Brainwashing as a Defense to Criminal Liability: Patty Hearst Revisited", Criminal Law Bulletin, vol. 13, 1977, 347-48.
2 Thomas Szasz, "Some Call It Brainwashing", The New Republic, March 6, 1976.
3 "Interview With Harvey Cox", in Steven J. Gelberg, ed. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, (New York: Grove Press, 1983) 50.
Articles From the October 1995 Unification News
God And Academia
By Sara Horsfall
In high school, I wanted to be a psychiatrist (after wanting to be a hair dresser, a fashion designer, and an interior decorator). Then I discovered that psychiatry required 7 years of medical training, plus training in psychiatry. I gave up the idea. But I didn't give up on a profession helping people. I switched to psychology. In college, my first psychology class was taught by a behaviorist (the ones who experiment on white mice). His reply to my questions ("You can take my advanced course when you're a senior") and his general approach convinced me that this person, and possibly this subject was not for me. Nevertheless, as a senior I took a graduate course in physiological psychology, and prepared to enter graduate school as a psychologist. Before I could attend, however, I joined the Unification Church as a full-time member. It was 18 years before I returned to academia. In the interim my interest had shifted to Sociology.
Psychologists versus Sociologists
Like Psychology, Sociology is concerned with the study of people. However, there is an obvious difference. Psychology takes the individual as the unit. It looks inward, seeking to answer the question, "What it is that makes the individual tick?" Psychologists are not as likely to be interested in groups of people except to understand the effect that other individuals have on a particular person. Sociology, on the other hand, looks at the social environment- from the small family to the local community, to the nation and the world. Some sociologists are comfortable with the extreme view of social determinism: they believe that the social environment makes you who you are. Many sociologists are not as concerned with what goes on inside the individual except as it relates to the entire social picture. In-between the psychologists and the sociologists are the social psychologists, who are interested in both what makes people tick, and the dynamics of the groups that all individuals are a part of. They accept the idea that the social environment influences the individual but many would not subscribe to an extreme form of social determinism. There are psychological social psychologists (those who identify themselves as psychologists), and sociological social psychologists (those who identify themselves as sociologists).
Sociologists commonly divide the areas of study within the field into macro and micro. Political sociologists and organizational theorists are examples of a macro focus-analyzing large groups of people and organizations, political influences, voting behavior, workings of organizations including governments, businesses, etc. Micro sociologists examine small groups, such as the family, and perhaps the community. They study such things as how people interact with each other, the meaning systems that are created, the development of power, prestige and status and how that affects interaction. I am a micro sociologist-and a social psychologist.
Psychology and Sociology as Cain and Abel
Aside from these simple distinctions, there are other important differences between psychology and sociology, differences that have led me to conclude that sociology, as a research field, is in the Abel position, in comparison to psychology. There is the immediate observation that psychologists are more likely to label Unification Church members as psychotic, and claim they are brainwashed. Sociologists, on the other hand, are not usually as quick to judge, and are more interested in the whole situation as a phenomena. Sociologists are more likely to appreciate the religious meaning, even if the organizational structure and forms of worship are not traditional. Psychologists, on the other hand, are quick to label someone like David Koresh a megalomaniac. (I say this from personal experience. I was taking a psychology course when the Waco tragedy occurred. I was aghast at the arm-chair analysis of the situation from a professor who otherwise seemed quite informed, and even spiritual!) John Biermans has given a good description of the psychological approach in his Odyssey of New Religions. And there are sociologists who have written about the Unification Church in a non-derogatory way.
But the distinctions go deeper. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that these surface differences arise because of the deep underlying differences. I contend that the two disciplines have different roots- they arise from different schools of European thought. To understand the significance of the difference, one must examine the philosophical atmosphere in Europe during the time of the Enlightenment. It was a time when the learned philosophers of France, Britain and Italy sought to be free of the authority of the church and tradition. (For a wonderful comparison of the atmosphere then and now, read Science is God by David Horrobin.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau spoke of the social contract-contending that every individual has a right to be governed only after he or she has given consent: government is a social contact, not an imposed rule upon unwilling subjects. The Philosphes advocated the "transcendental pretense"-the idea that all people everywhere are the same. This was meant to counteract the traditional view that some people, mainly the upper class educated and wealthy, are better than others, mainly the uneducated and poor serfs and servant class. Using St. Thomas Aquinas' argument that God's nature could be seen in nature, there was a move among the intellectuals to regard reason as the ultimate authority, rather than church officials. Further, there was a belief, shared by many of the same intellectuals, that nature could provide the same answers as church authorities. The Renaissance and the Enlightenment was a time of turning away from traditional society, traditional authority, traditional mannerisms; a time of embracing the rational, the individual, the scientific.
An important step along the way was Rene Descartes' ("I think, therefore I am") mind-body dualism. His description of the body as a mindless machine was quickly adopted by medical researchers, who were eager to unharnass the body from the mind, or soul-hence sever the practice of medicine from the authority of the Church. This separation of mind and body has dominated medical practice and thought ever since. In the area of mental health (I prefer the term SPSI-Social- Psychological-Spiritual Imbalance), this separation was furthered by medical practitioners who argued that the brain was where the problem of insanity lay-not the spirit. This again severed the practice of medicine-in this case, treatment of the insane-from the authority of the Church.
Freud and the Development of Psychology
Another important European thinker was Benedictus de Spinoza, who objected to Descartes' dualism. He thought that individual psychological events were caused by prior psychological events (an idea known today as psychophysiological parallelism). He saw self- preservation as the most basic law of nature, which expressed itself in appetite, desire, and basic emotions of joy and grief. In other words, for Spinoza, the mind is essentially reduced to bodily instincts. Spinoza's idea became popular throughout Europe, and two centuries later Sigmund Freud adopted it without realizing where it came from. Freud identified two bodily instincts, or two basic drives: sex and aggression. These two instincts, albeit modified by ego and superego, are the source of all psychic energy. Freud called these raw emotions primary processes, and contrasted them with the intellectual, or secondary processes. That is, emotions arise from the physical instincts, and are, thus, more animalistic, or more primary. Intellectual, rational activities are the product of the ego and superego, and arise as the individual develops a conscience.
Coincidentally, Freud's primary processes are almost exclusively those characteristics that traditionally are associated with women and identified as feminine (nurturing, emotive, spontaneous), whereas the secondary processes are those traditionally associated with men and masculinity (logical, orderly, planned, comprehensive).
Freud is one of the persons whose ideas I disagree with the most. To my way of thinking, he took all of spirit world outside the individual-the ideas and feelings that spontaneously come to an individual-and put it into the basement of the personal unconscious. Most people in the western world today, take the things they think and feel as their personal property, stemming from some deep, unconscious experience or memory. In short, Freud separated us from each other in our minds. He put us each in our own private cocoon, instead of letting us be free to participate in, and identify with, the larger social spirit, of which we are a part. Fortunately, I am not alone in my criticism of Freud, although I have not heard this particular critique elsewhere.
These then, are the roots of psychology. Although Freud became more interested in spiritual matters late in his life, he developed his theory along scientific, materialistic lines, incorporating the biases of his day. Of the latter, the most important are his derogatory view of women (as less cultured than men), and his idea that the more rational a person is, the more human he or she is. It is a view in which God and religion have very little place, and belief in such things tends to be seen as a weakness of character. (For a fascinating account of Freud's relationship to his Jewish heritage, I recommend David Bakan's book Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition.) Freud is one of the persons whose ideas I disagree with the most. To my way of thinking, he took all of spirit world outside the individual-the ideas and feelings that spontaneously come to an individual-and put it into the basement of the personal unconscious. Most people in the western world today, take the things they think and feel as their personal property, stemming from some deep, unconscious experience or memory. In short, Freud separated us from each other in our minds. He put us each in our own private cocoon, instead of letting us be free to participate in, and identify with, the larger social spirit, of which we are a part. Fortunately, I am not alone in my criticism of Freud, although I have not heard this particular critique elsewhere.
There are, to the best of my knowledge, four major divisions of psychology today: psychoanalytic psychology (Freud), behaviorism (I.P. Pavlov and J.B. Watson), humanistic psychology (Herbert Maslow) and analytical psychology (Carl Jung). Certainly not all psychologists adhere to Freud's ideas. There is much that is Principled in Maslow's work, and in Jung. There are aspects of behaviorism and psychoanalytic psychology that can be used in a positive way. But the influence of Freud's thought, not only on psychology, but on all of our western thought, cannot be understated. For example, it is hard to find a modern conception of the Self that does not include some form of the ego, the id, the super ego, the unconscious, or other of Freud's concepts.
Hegel and the Development of Sociology
All of the early Sociologists-Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Georg Simmel, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx (yes, we have to include him-at least for now)-were concerned with the direction that social development was taking. They were concerned that the rational, individualistic, materialistic tradition would create a society in which people no longer valued family and tradition, a society in which people would seek individual material wealth over loyalty to a community or social group, a society in which life was so fast paced we would become confused and disoriented, and other things. In other words, they were, at least in part, opposed to the developments of the Enlightenment.
All of them had a concept of the social that was very different from Enlightenment thinkers. In Durkheim, the social is very similar to the Jewish tradition of tribal identity and loyalty. (He came from a long line of Jewish Rabbis.) Durkheim and the others saw the individual as being highly influenced by the social group of which he or she was a member. They did not advocate social contract, as did Rousseau. Rather they sought to explain how it is that people came to develop societies, how they learned to live with one another, what the future would hold.
The concept of the social as a living entity that develops, lives, functions as a unit was borrowed from the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel objected to the Cartesian dualism of mind and body, and to the Kantian dualism of the noumen (the world as it is) and the phenomenon (the world as we experience it). Once divided, they can never be reunited, he said. (This has indeed proven to be the case for the objective and subjective approaches to understanding, as exemplified in the conflict between religion and science.) Hegel thought that the Enlightenment, for all its brilliance, left out spirituality, which he took to be the inner subject of human activity. Some have interpreted this to mean that ideas are the only reality for Hegel and the Idealists, but that is a simplistic reading of his philosophy. The whole of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit describes the development of a social collective. It is not just the psychology of single group that Hegel describes, but the interaction of the psychologies of several distinct groups, and their growth into a point of unity. It is the unity of humanity into a single human spirit. It is our knowledge of ourselves, thought thinking itself, spirit recognizing itself as spirit, "the confidence that humanity can be a harmonious whole" (Robert Solomon, In the Spirit of Hegel).
Hegel's concept of the individual embedded within society-from the intimate family relationships (he was one of the few European philosophers who even talked about family), to the larger community and state-stands in stark contrast to the ideas of the Enlightenment Philosphes who firmly rejected the church and tradition in favor of science and the transcendental pretense. Hegel had a vision of a dynamic society, growing and developing. Individuals played an important role, but their activity was not contractual, nor was the dynamic of society something that was visible. This complex vision of the inner workings of society is not linear. It cannot be grasped in Enlightenment terminology. It is a holistic approach, encompassing a living, moving entity in an un-machine-like manner. (Hegel's thought is very comfortable for those who have studied Divine Principle, because of the striking similarity between his dialectic and the four position foundation.)
The first and most important collective for Hegel is the family. Love is a special form of reciprocity which supersedes the social contract of individualism. Precisely because it is NOT contractual, it frees those whom it encompasses. The only idea of a marriage contract Hegel allows is a contract to go beyond contract. For Hegel, the family is the foundation of social life.
So, where did Hegel get his ideas, if not from the Enlightenment thinkers? According to some sources, many of his concepts were borrowed from the German mystics-Meister Eckhart, Jacob Boehme, Jan van Ruysbroeck, and others. The concept of growth, the concept of a social whole, the concept of consciousness developing to encompass more and more. So it appears that the thought of this giant European philosopher, whom I have argued elsewhere is really the granddaddy of sociology, reflected the richness of the religious tradition in contrast with that of the Enlightenment scientists, who rejected religion, often in favor of the ancient Greek culture. (Before you start praising Hegel, however, you should know that there are those- including myself-who concluded that he was an atheist! Society itself was God for Hegel, a view shared by most of the early sociologists.)
In light of this very different orientation of the two different disciplines, is there any wonder that they would view religion, and spirituality in quite different ways? Granted not all psychologists are strict Freudians, nor are all sociologists Hegelians (in fact, most of them are not sure how Hegel's philosophy differs from Marx). But the legacy of their thought is still felt. As for myself, I feel certain that I was guided to sociology. There are many theories and ideas that I disagree with in the field today, but it is much easier to present my study of spirituality to sociologists than it would be to present it to psychologists.
Unificationists, Unificationism, And The Unification Church - Answers To Often-Asked Questions
Question: Doesn't the church teach that deception is justifiable if it advances its goals?
The Principle stresses the Biblical teaching that we reap whatever we sow: whatever good or whatever wrong we do comes back to us.
However, for many years the Unification Church has encountered the claim that it officially sanctions deception. This has never been true.
A news weekly reported about the church, as if it were uncontested truth: "Lying, for instance, is not taboo but a necessary tool in battling Satan. Falsehoods help convert nonbelievers; they are therefore praised as 'heavenly deceptions.'" (U. S. News & World Report, March 27, 1989).
The assertion is a gross and insulting distortion of Unification theology and practices that has resulted from the media's uncritical acceptance of propaganda from activists in the anti-cult movement.
It is a fabrication similar to charges that religious bigots have made against Jesuits, Buddhists, Lutherans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Christian Scientists, and many other religions throughout history, during their emergent phases.
Regrettably, there have indeed been instances of deception by individual church members, which can be divided into two categories:
1. Incidents arising from fear of persecution. Harassment and abuse has caused some members to fear identifying themselves as Unification Church members;
2. Implicit and occasionally explicit concealing of membership status by church members involved in church-related communities, most notably an idealistic organization called "Creative Community Project" in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1970s -- nearly 20 years ago.
The project's affiliation with the church did not at first seem an issue, since few people had heard of Rev. Moon, nor was the church nationally established. After several members had been "deprogrammed," adherents to the Principle teachings began to be criticized because they would invite people to hear their philosophy but not at first identify that these were the teachings of Rev. Moon.
The national leadership of the church sympathized with members concerned that a biased perception of Rev. Moon would prevent someone from hearing his teachings with an open mind. Church leadership also insisted that Unificationists stop this practice of what had not been but was now becoming deception.
Rev. Moon directly addressed the matter in an American church leadership conference at the time. He admonished local church leaders who hesitated to identify him as the source of the teachings.
However, there is another side to the coin and it needs to be brought out. Countless times, friends or associates of church members have been harassed with McCarthyite-like smear tactics. People -- and often the media -- have stamped these non-church people with the epithet "Moonie," even though they do not share Unificationist beliefs, simply because they have chosen to associate with church members and related activities.
Many Unificationists have been denied a job or been passed over for promotion because of their religious affiliation. In the realm of deception, what fair-minded person would think to censure Jewish immigrants who changed their names to disguise their ethnic and religious background so they could get a job in a hostile Protestant and Catholic business community?
Deceptive practices are rightfully criticized. Creating an atmosphere where members of religious minorities such as the Unification Church must be wary of bringing up the subject of their faith affiliation -- as if it were an admission of guilt -- is also a practice deserving criticism.
What Is The Nature Of Church Leadership?
Question: Who leads the church?
Rev. Moon is the founder and spiritual leader of the church internationally. With Mrs. Moon and a council of elders, he is deeply involved with worldwide Unification leadership, advising, and inspiring.
Additionally, the church has various international, national, state or provincial, city, and individual organizational structures.
While he provides spiritual guidance for much of the church operation, Rev. Moon is not legally an officer of the church internationally or in America. HSA-UWC is led by its Board of Directors and the officers elected by the Board.
In addition to asking, "Who leads the church?" it would be apt to ask, "What leads the church?" The answer is that adherents are guided in their daily lives by beliefs they call the Principle.
More about Rev. Moon's background, church history, and beliefs are detailed elsewhere in this page.
Question: Rev. Moon served time in prison on a conviction of income tax fraud. Doesn't this discredit him as a religious leader?
Rev. Moon served 13 months in a federal correctional institution in the US. from 1984 to 1985. As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch conducted an extensive investigation into the Justice Department's successful pursuit of Rev. Moon, and concluded:
* "The three Justice Department attorneys who initially undertook an independent review of a possible criminal action against Rev. Moon unanimously agreed, independently of each other, that there was no case."
* "Rev. Moon's tax liability, even if the government's case could be proven, was a mere $7,300 for a three-year period (or roughly $2,433 per year). I have been advised that the Justice Department's own guidelines state that criminal tax cases will not be brought if the alleged tax deficiency is less than $2,500 per year."
* "Despite the career attorneys' recommendations not to prosecute, and no evidence of any kind to establish that even a single cent of the money in dispute was given to Rev. Moon personally, and not to his church, the Justice Department was nevertheless persuaded to seek an indictment by a zealous assistant US. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, who built a case entirely on supposition and innuendo."
* "It simply makes no sense whatsoever to expect that a man who has managerial control over such large sums of money would intentionally conspire to avoid a few thousand dollars in income taxes."
The courtroom record showed that Rev. Moon had duly paid taxes on every cent of this fund used for his personal expenses. The interest income belonged to the Unification Church, yet the government successfully argued before a jury that it belonged personally to Rev. Moon.
Forty leading groups and individuals signed amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs on behalf of Rev. Moon's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcry in support of Rev. Moon by the religious community and civil liberty organizations has rarely been seen in United States legal history.
Reverend Moon has been jailed four other times by three other governments. Other religious leaders imprisoned by secular authorities -- to name just a few -- are Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Francis, Ignatius Loyola, George Fox and, of course, Jesus Christ.
Those who know Rev. Moon see his ordeals as badges of honor conferred on a man of uncompromising faith.
Question: Doesn't Rev Moon use religion to support a lavish lifestyle?
Rev. Moon does not live lavishly. In fact, his lifestyle is austere. He has never demonstrated concern for personal comfort or material status.
It is true that the church provides for the well-being of Rev. Moon and his family, much as the Catholic or Orthodox Churches care for their patriarchs.
Until the early 1970s, the Moon family lived in a tiny four-room apartment above the worship hall in the first headquarters church in Seoul, Korea. Only after that was the church in Korea able to provide them with more adequate quarters.
Today, because Rev. Moon often commutes back and forth between the United States and Korea, the church provides him with one residence in Seoul and one in New York, which are owned by the church and not by Rev. Moon. Even these residences serve more as international conference centers than as a home. There is room upstairs for the family, which still lives in cramped quarters which afford them little private time together.
Certain American industrialists who amassed huge personal fortunes sometimes committed a fraction of their wealth to public purposes. Rev. Moon, however, doesn't t seek to be a person of private means. Donations, profits, and fundraising receipts go for the church and other organizations founded by him.
Long before the income tax case, bookkeepers in the church knew Rev. Moon to be strict about proper use of church funds. He himself is exceedingly disciplined on this point. He teaches church members, "Anyone who collects someone else's money for the public purpose and uses that money unscrupulously for himself is a thief That kind of person will be destroyed from within."
Church members in America noted that during his first speaking tour, Rev. Moon would express hospitality by providing guests with as lavish a meal as the church could afford, yet he regularly ate his dinner before the speech -- at a local McDonald's.
Finally, the leader of the Unification Church doesn't "use" religion. He is a genuinely religious person with a great dream and desire to serve God and humanity. A challenge as narrow as obtaining wealth for himself would not satisfy him.
Question: Where did church beliefs originate?
The Principle was first taught 45 years ago by Sun Myung Moon, a young Korean man raised in a culture steeped in Korean folk religion and Confucianism and in a family that had converted to Christianity, through the Presbyterian Church.
The Korean youth had a life-changing experience at age 16. Jesus came to him while he was in prayer on Easter morning and set him on a spiritual journey to unravel the mysteries of the Bible and the reason for the gap between the ideal of a Christian way of life and the suffering all around him.
For the next nine years, through intense Bible study, prayer, and suffering, the main structure of the Principle was revealed to Rev. Moon. In 1945 he began to teach publicly. He published the first official text of the Principle in the late 1950s with the help of early church members.
Rev. Moon is the discoverer and the authoritative teacher of the Principle. However, he did not actually sit down and write the text. The first official text in English was a very literal translation of the Korean version, subjected to slight editing by native English speakers, and published in 1973.
The Principle text, along with numerous speeches and sermons by Rev. Moon, has been translated into several languages. However, Rev. Moon considers only the original Korean to be fully authoritative.
What Do They Want?
Question: Isn't the church just a front for Rev Moon's financial empire?
As in other religious communities, most members of the Unification Church donate to support outreach programs -- pastoral and missionary work, interfaith outreach, evangelical programs, feeding, clothing, and providing health care to the poor, and cultural and educational programs in support of the arts and sciences.
The essence and purpose of the Unification Church are religious. Its goals are encompassing. For any non-profit entity to transform its vision into reality, funding is needed.
Various for-profit businesses which have been founded or inspired by Rev. Moon are separately incorporated from the church, and are tax- paying entities which observe the laws of the land just like any other corporate citizen in America.
The word "front" is just a pejorative term used by people who are either ignorant of or hostile to the numerous projects and people inspired by the Principle teachings. The term "front group" serves the purpose of discrediting legitimate projects and activities. The term "up front" would be more apt to describe what the church and its members do.
Question: I read that Rev Moon wants to lead a worldwide theocracy.
Rev. Moon does not aspire to political office and has never seen his calling in the political sector. He has always been a spiritual leader. Members of the church believe he is someone with a prophetic mission for this period in history.
Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within us. The concept of theocracy in Unification theology derives from this concept, that the Kingdom of God on earth is the place where God would guide people individually through their conscience and socially through each family structure.
God is never coercive. As people grow responsive to the love of God and transform their daily living by high ethics and principles, that is when we will see God's kingdom on earth. This is what Rev. Moon has always taught. In an ideal world t that aspect of government whose function is to coerce human behavior will cease to be necessary. The Principle is a religious text, not a political prescription.
In practice, Rev. Moon seeks to influence individuals in the direction of world peace, and moral and ethical responsibility. He encourages ethical people to seek responsible positions in society; he urges people in positions of influence to work for beneficial change.
Are They A Threat?
Question: Isn't it a cult
The Manson family and the Jonestown tragedy popularized the sinister concept of the previously emotionally neutral term "cult."
Attacks from a well-organized, self-proclaimed "anti-cult movement" led by professional deprogrammers produced what many leading experts on new religions call the "cult hoax" of the 1970s. Much of the "cult explosion" has been the product of hype and tabloid journalism.
In the mid-1970s, leaders of the anticult movement needed support and funding. They chose the Unification Church as their target and symbol of the "cult menace."
George Swope of the National Citizens Engaged in Reuniting Families, Inc., wrote: Because we can't be effective using the buckshot approach, we must zero in on ONE cult. If our government investigates one cult and finds grounds for prosecution, we can move on to the other cults. The cult we have chosen is Moon's Unification Church.
In deciding an $11 million judgment against an anti-cult organization for libeling a new religious group, a California Superior Court said: Cults are claimed to be just about every bad thing in the book these days, and with the pervasive images of Manson and Jim Jones hanging over us, any group that is called a cult is immediately associated with those two people. As stated by Dr. Melton, "to call someone a cult is the 1970s equivalent of labeling them a pinko communist in the days of McCarthyism. Once the accusation is made, that stigma remains even if proven to be totally wrong."
'Biermans, John T. The Odyssey of New Religions Today, New York: Edwin Mellen, 1988.
'Witness Lee, et al. v. Neil T Duddy, et al.,
Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, No. 540, 585-9, June 26, 1985.
Question: Aren't they brainwashed?
Many people are troubled by those who are transformed by a genuine religious conversion experience.
The experience of conversion from one religion to another has been a cause of controversy and persecution throughout history.
Joining the Salvation Amy is already indicative, if not of total breakdown, at least of a predisposition to insanity. (Switzerland, 1883); The Methodists are the most bewitching people that ever lived; for when once a person hears them, it is impossible to persuade them to return back again. (letter published 1837)
Conversion to any religion can cause redefinition of one's values and goals. New Converts often exhibit a sense of having found new meaning in life.
Every mainstream religion has been subjected to attack by friends or family members of someone who embraced it as their new faith. In some cases, attacks have been prompted by religious leaders who genuinely perceive a threat to their particular faith.
The Unification Church is based upon freedom of conscience. People who freely choose to join the church may also freely choose to become inactive. It is widely accepted among scholars who study the Unification Church that members freely come and go in and out of the church. Yet adherents of the anti-cult movement accuse the Unification Church and other religions of gaining new converts and maintaining commitment through "brainwashing."
Members of the church whose faith is broken through a coercive ordeal (popularly known as a "deprogramming") are encouraged by professional deprogrammers to believe they were somehow rendered incapable of thinking for themselves.
The brainwashing theory has been repeatedly discredited and dismissed by numerous sociologists, psychiatrists, theologians, and other respected and credible experts. They point out that the charge is frequently used by deprogrammers to help former converts feel absolved from personal responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
Ready press attention has helped to perpetuate the brainwashing myth. Several apostate members of the Unification Church have profited from the brainwashing myth by writing sensationalist books.
Numerous scholars have pointed out that the accounts of deprogrammed apostate members should not be taken at face value because of their distorted perspective.
Question: Doesn't Rev. Moon tell them whom they have to marry?
Most church members desire that Rev. Mom recommend a marriage partner. Romantic "courtship" relationships of the sort common among unmarried people in the West are discouraged within the culture of the church.
The concept of engagement and marriage is more in keeping with long recognized
traditions in Asia, and some cultures in Europe. Courtship begins from the time a couple is engaged, and their entire life together is a process of deepening love for one another. The Unification Church holds that a romance which is born and grows this way has a better chance to become rooted and lasting, particularly when anchored in a shared understanding and faith in God.
Westerners persuaded by the romantic ideal of a more "me"-oriented 20th century culture may be surprised to note the research on marriage in the church by Dr. Joseph Fichter, Professor of Sociology at Loyola University in New Orleans. In his book, The Holy Family of Father Moon, Fichter points out that the Unificationist way of engagement has been an accepted pattern for most of humanity for most of history.
A shared faith and desire to live with one's spouse in accord with the Principle, are the secrets to Unificationists' successful marriage customs.
The preference of church members to have Rev. Moon's recommendation in choosing a partner is a phenomenon the press and public understandably view as unusual.
Of course, it is unusual. What it is not is evidence of "brain- washing," but of a serious decision deeply, prayerfully, and freely taken. Unificationists would like their choice to seek Rev. and Mrs. Moon's counsel to be understood as resulting from a profound regard for their spirituality and insight. The prospective couple may accept or decline the recommendation. Church members have a one to three year courtship period before beginning their family life.
Question: Don't they all get married at the same time in one huge, impersonal ceremony?
Huge, unusual, and extraordinary? Yes, of course. But it's not impersonal and it's not inexplicable.
Unificationists place great importance on marriage and family. Marriage is the central sacrament of church life. The large wedding ceremony represents a deeply felt act of witnessing before God. Each spouse and couple openly dedicate themselves to one another and to the betterment of their community. Dr. James H. Grace, chairman of the Philosophy and Religion Department at Glassboro College, studied the Unification approach to marriage. He wrote in his book Sex and Marriage in the Unification Movement: A Sociological Study, that America -- and especially the religious institutions -- could learn something very important about marriage from the Unification ideal. It could restore a sense of responsibility to the Christian home and relieve the ego-fulfillment pressure that exists in many marriages today.
With regard to the size of the ceremonies, there are three things to mention:
1. Nearly 40,000 church members have considered it an honor to have Rev. and Mrs. Moon officiate at their wedding. As a practical matter, if Rev. and Mrs. Moon had to appear at that many individual weddings, they would have little time to do anything else with their lives.
2. For Rev. Moon and Unificationists, the ceremonies represent a very important demonstration of understanding, peace, and unity, involving men and women from all racial and cultural backgrounds.
3. Couples who have become married as part of a large group often feel a sense of community that leads to an extended family support system. The mass wedding -- or in church terminology the "blessing" ceremony - - represents a bonding within the community of married couples which helps develop a sense of caring for each other.
Engagement and marriage in the Unification Church works. The divorce rate of 5-10 percent is well below the national average.
The mass weddings also illustrate a "Catch-22" in media coverage of the church. Rev Moon knows that the weddings powerfully reinforce false and damaging stereotypes of Unificationists, as so-called brainwashed "cult" followers.
Yet the weddings continue. Their religious meaning and spiritual significance to Unificationists outweigh concern about media and public perception.
Most news accounts predictably report the weddings as a weird practice -- not as an act of integrity putting church beliefs ahead of short- term public relations considerations.
On the other hand, when church beliefs inspire activities that appear normal and respectable, the media often cynically dismisses them as "attempts to gain credibility."
Question: Doesn't the church want to impose outmoded, Puritanical attitudes toward sexual relations before marriage on the rest of society?
Life within the Unification community is meant to be an ongoing process of personal growth that can be as fulfilling as it is challenging. People often find themselves attracted by the, "spirit" within the Holy Spirit Association. Occasionally there are people who find such an open atmosphere unsettling or even threatening.
Contributing to the well-being of the community is a shared understanding of the pain that results from premarital and extramarital sexual relationships.
Many religious teachings historically have been fearful and disdainful of sex. Unificationism teaches that sexual love in marriage beautifully expresses and recreates an experience of divine love and is also a primary path of spiritual growth. Instead of having a hang-up, Unificationism offers greater clarity which leads to better relationships, more stable marriages, and a more fulfilled monogamous sexual life.
Particularly in the West since the Second World War and the advent of the "Playboy" sexual ethic, there has been a more and more critical attitude toward the traditional idea of abstinence prior to marriage. Young men and women have discounted it as one more outmoded notion from the past in light of the "new morality" Religious leaders have either been unable to give meaningful reasons for premarital abstinence or have themselves been convinced that the practice is passed.
The Unification Church is largely successful in instilling abstinence in single members because the Principle itself offers clear reasons for abstaining.
The Principle teaches that the original fall of humanity from God's grace was brought about by the misuse of love, or selfish love, by our first ancestors. They tried to claim a sexual union with one another without first having individually matured in a loving and responsible relationship with God.
Everyone knows that you can't give what you don't have. Without developing "God-centered" spiritual maturity -- that is, personal integrity, genuine responsibility, and the ability to love unselfishly -- one is not ready for the requirements of conjugal love.
The goal of men and women of the church before marriage is to develop a mature relationship with God. The Unification community provides a mean to practice such love in a brother and sister relationship with one another.
The sexual union of man and woman has become de-spiritualized in modern society. Unificationists believe in that union as the highest expression of spiritual love between husband and wife. It never was intended to be a casual encounter between people who hardly know each other.
That attitude historically among many clergy that sexual love even in marriage is something merely to be tolerated or treated with disdain, has contributed to the shabby moral atmosphere in our modern societies.
Unificationism teaches that a husband and wife bonded in marriage recreate the image of God and thereby draw God's love to them. Premarital relationships
create obstacles to growth by weakening the spiritual unity of husband and wife that is supported by their sexual love.
The Unification Church unashamedly promotes its doctrine that the sinful consequence of the fall of man described in the Bible is a cheapening of one of the most beautiful and spiritually vital aspects of human creation -sex.
Unificationists believe that understanding and appreciation of Unificationist teaching of the fall of man will go a long ways toward realization of a spiritually healthy society.
A combination of widespread disillusionment with sexual permissiveness coupled with epidemic social diseases and AIDS now seems to be moving society back to monogamous behavior. Question: Aren't Unificationists weird?
There is no cookie cutter from which all Unificationists are stamped. Unificationists are real people -- they come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, and from all levels of society. They are lawyers, students, taxi drivers, computer programmers, doctors, professors, housewives, carpenters, and retired persons too.
The lingering image of the Unificationist as a fresh-faced 20-year-old whose days are spent in soliciting donations at a truck stop was never typical and has become ludicrous.
Acceptance and understanding of Rev. Moon and Unificationism has progressed steadily over the past decade. Many persons have studied the Principle and involved themselves in various aspects of Unificationist activities.
After people get to know Unification members, they often remark, "You're not what I thought. You're normal!"
Even harsh critics who have made the effort to investigate, usually come to realize that Unificationists are normal in many ways, with unique temperaments, expressions, and tastes, and a commitment to their faith.
However, there is something that lends a common identification to church members: their lives are dedicated to God, their families, and fellow human beings. For many, the Unification faith brings real meaning to their lives, fulfilling needs unmet in their previous religious affiliation.
Journalists committed to portraying accurate information and impressions who want to go beyond superficial and poor reportage -- will find an exploration into what Unificationists are really like to be time well spent.
Aren't Their Beliefs Heretical?
Unification beliefs, referred to as the Principle, instruct that 2,000 years ago the teachings of Jesus represented the highest spiritual understanding that human beings were capable of receiving. Today, human consciousness has advanced to a point that through Christianity and other religious paths, modern men and women are seeking even higher levels of enlightenment to satisfy their spiritual needs.
Unificationism is unique in that it is inclusive of all major historical religions in its world view and seeks to affirm their various roles in history. Some theologians believe that the Unification Church is Christian to its core. Others disagree.
Unification theology, which is also enriched by oriental thought and culture, additionally asserts:
* Jesus -- Messiah and Son of God -- is a separate being from God Himself.
* God works through human history to achieve an ideal world on earth.
* The Old and New Testaments of the Bible indicate God's original purpose for creating. They provide the record of how God has been helping fallen humanity regain a capacity for achieving an intended state of goodness.
* God did not take a vow of silence once the Bible was canonized. He provides continuing revelation. * All people are born to be sons and daughters of God.
* Evil is not part of God's creation and can eventually be eradicated.
* Marriage and family are the most central sacrament in a person's life and the essential building block of all social organization.
As the core statement of the belief of the Unification Church, the Principle is a unique and ambitious piece of religious literature intended to help all people discern God's relationship to the world.
The Principle is the basis for lengthy study and application by Unificationists and a sizable and emerging body of scholarly literature.
Question: What are the Unificationist beliefs about Jesus Christ?
Unificationism is very much in accord with the teachings of Jesus, but differs with conventional Christian teaching about Jesus.
Unificationists anticipate an end to tragic human suffering once people live by the words of the Sermon on the Mount.
Unificationists take seriously Paul's description of Jesus as the "2nd Adam," coming to fulfill what the 1st Adam failed to do.
The Principle makes a dramatic departure from much of traditional theology in stating that had the people of his time followed Jesus, his crucifixion would not have been necessary, Jesus would have provided people with a way of achieving their originally intended potential, and God's ideal could have developed from that time.
This belief is possible because the Principle teaches that Jesus -- Messiah and Son of God -- is a separate being from God Himself.
Admittedly, this response is inadequate. Church beliefs are introduced in The Principle: Level IV and in Unification Theology, books which are yours for the asking.
On the Unification Church --
". . . more orthodox and more creative in dealing with scripture and the Christian tradition than many other contemporary churches. We should rejoice in its fervour and be glad to learn from its theology."
Dr. Herbert Richardson, Professor of Religious Studies University of Toronto
On Unification theology --
". . . the most radical, powerful, and constructive force for the future of Biblical studies since the Protestant Reformation."
Dr. Thomas Boslooper, Member of the Dutch Reformed Church; Professor of Biblical Studies, Unification Theological Seminary
"I have read the Principle. If people have trouble with the Principle, they have trouble with the Sermon On The Mount."
Reverend James Bevel, Former Chief Strategist for Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Unification Church 4 West 43rd Street New York, NY 10036 Public Affairs (212) 827-0463
Myth and Fact: Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church
Click here for: Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, in their own words.
Sun Myung Moon's followers capture and enslave children.
The "Children" referred to here are adults, not real children. They are adults who chose a religion, lifestyle, or spouse that their parents did not approve of. Parents who can not fathom that their adult children would stop obeying them, may claim their children were being held against their will. The actual case is that adult members of the Unification Church did not agree with the way their parents wanted to run their lives. To my knowledge there is no Unification Church child evangelization. As far as I can see, all child members of the Unification Church are the children of adult members.
Moonies are a business, whose purpose is to make Sun Myung Moon rich.
There are businesses owned by members of the Unification Church, just as Catholics, Moslems, Hindus, Protestants, Jews, and Buddhists own businesses. However, the Unification Church is not a business, it is not even profitable. People follow Sun Myung Moon because it can lead them to God. Those same people leave the Unification Church if they can find a better way to serve God. There is no charge to learn about the Unification Church. I do not think that there even a charge to join. There is no fee for Unification Church sacraments or Unification Church Sunday School. Seating is first come first serve, no seats reserved for big Unification Church contributors.
Moonie leaders live in mansions, while Moonies live in squalor.
Almost all of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's followers live in their own homes, not in church owned property. Some church workers live in church owned buildings. They usually pay rent. Sun Myung Moon pays rent. Some people don't pay rent. The reason usually is that they are involved in full time church work, without remuneration. You may have heard about Moonie Mansions. I have lived at most of them at one time or another, as have many other Unification Church members. Most of them were run down when we purchased them. We fixed them up for our use. I don't think that most would be called mansions if the Unification Church did not own them.
Moonies are brainwashed, and Moonies want to brainwash you.
I have always thought it interesting that the CIA, Coca-Cola, and the US Army cannot figure out a way to brainwash folks, but every religious leader who is a heretic to the conservative religious knows how. I have read books that explain that I am brainwashed or experiencing a mental disease because I believe that Sun Myung Moon is the messiah. It seems to me that the problem is not my state of mind but that my religious belief is not "approved." I notice that the definition of "cult" is only applied to heretics. The Beatles, Mormons, and Amway salesmen are all cultists. The Boston Pops, Southern Baptists, and General Motors salesmen are not cultists.
Moonies use deception in everything.
Religious people should not be deceptive. No religion, including Sun Myung Moon's, teaches that it is good to lie, cheat, murder, commit adultery, etc. Sun Myung Moon and his followers are human; and are not flawless. There have been examples of deception. However, even those who have practiced it know it is wrong. It is just that their morality is not up to the challenges of life. Consider, the Unification Church has never participated in a holy war, has never killed, tortured, or even persecuted people who did not follow its teachings. Sun Myung Moon does not even think of members of other religions as heretics. Not many religions or churches can say that.
Moonies want to enslave you first, then take your money, and lastly make you go out and beg for more money.
The Unification Church is glad to have your money. Send donations to:
Unification Church 4 West 43 Street New York, NY 10036
Almost all church funds come from the donations of members, but you don't have to be a member to donate. Some Unification Church members ask for donations on the street. However, I have not seen one in years. Have you?
Moonies plan to take over the world, and set up a Moonie world government.
Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church are not capable of taking over the world, even they wanted to. We believe that God wants to establish an ideal world on earth and in the spirit world. Man cannot do it. Only God and man working together voluntarily can bring this about.
Moonies are mindless robots, who will only obey Moonie commander's orders. Sun Myung Moon is the chief Moonie commander. Moonies think that he is God. Moonies believe that he is their mind, since Moonies are incapable of thinking on their own.
Both Sun Myung Moon and Moonies are actually human. We have the same problems, strengths, and weaknesses as all people do. Calling us "Moonies" is just a technique of making it easy to hate us, because Moonies aren't human. It is easy to hate and persecute robots. The word Moonie has the same purpose as nigger, kike, spik, mick, or Polak. It is to make a group of enemies, that it is acceptable to hate and misuse.
The opinion of Gary Fleisher
by Curtis W. Walker
So Billy Graham is still crusading. What of it? After five decades of having preached to more people than any man in human history, he has brought World Christendom no closer to erecting God's Kingdom on Earth than it was when this sermonizer first started his ministry.
Graham's triangle religion is rooted in three points: humanity's origin, life in the hereafter, and the second coming. It's a theoretical, piously irrelevant religion.
Unlike an authentic faith, which is rooted in disciplined, healthy and unselfish relationships, Graham's triangle religion leaves you free to do whatever you feel like doing to your fellow man, as long as you believe in Jesus. That's because Jesus, after a little while, will come along and just fix everything that's wrong.
With this type of magic-formula Christianity, Billy Graham has lived his life right through the "golden" fifties and the seismic sixties; into the second-thoughts seventies; through the empty eighties; right up until today.
He responded to Jim Crow and to the advent of the Civil Rights movement by retiring to the safety of his study, and penning a 250-page book entitled "Angels".
Can you imagine the leader of World Protestantism, after his having observed the revolutionary example set by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., taking the time to write about angels?
Following that, Graham authored two more titles: "The Holy Spirit" and "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." It's these types of sanctimoniously trivial issues that have fascinated Graham for the past 30 years. While his concern for angels and ghostly horsemen is high, his interest in people demonstrably loving one another is non-existent.
Close associates and supporters admire the "simplicity" of Graham's message. That message is simple, not because its messenger has special insight on the Bible, but because he is a profoundly trite thinker.
Careful study of Graham's writings reveals his devotion to "salvation in the heart" and "salvation in Heaven with Jesus." This man never preaches salvation here on Earth, and he never urges Christians to commit themselves to building the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
Billy Graham's milquetoast comfort-zone Christianity is the reason he is featured every year in "People" magazine as one of America's ten most popular citizens. This preacher is popular because he refuses to shake up the establishment with the trenchant, delusion-shattering challenges of the Gospel.
A genuinely prophetic evangelist would not sit and watch this society just drift along into higher divorce rates, higher crime rates, and higher rates of drug addiction, without sternly reprimanding the entire nation for her failure to become more and more like God's Kingdom.
Graham repeatedly ignores the fact that the Lord's Prayer emphatically declares, "Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on Earth...." With the influence he wields and the wealth he has at his disposal, Graham ought to be the prime mover in the effort to realize this ideal.
But he isn't. He would rather just "crusade". And because that crusading ends up being only words, and not words lived, the forces of evil don't even know who Billy Graham is. And those forces are certainly not worried about the fact that Graham is ready to crusade yet again.
Unification News for May 1997
by Kate Tsubata-Tokyo, Japan
This was written in repose to a plea over the WWW from the Chilean Church for help in dealing with Steve Hassan who is on a CAN speaking tour there.
Steve Hassan is a guy who joined in Queens, New York, for a period of about 6 weeks, as I remember. Since then, he has made a living accusing our movement, by any means possible. He wrote a book, not long ago, repeating many of the false allegations which he has constantly repeated during the past 20 years as his "ticket to fame."
He's a publicity hound. I met him in Boston, when he was trying to whip up anger towards our church there, in front of television cameras, in 1979. At that time, I confronted him, on camera, and demanded him to admit how much money he charges for a deprogramming. He refused to answer, because his dirty little secret is that this is a business for him. I told him "You joined the church for 6 weeks, and are using Rev. Moon to make money for yourself." He couldn't respond, because it was all totally true.
This is not a guy who can make it in life by contributing something positive to society, because he needs the dynamic of fear and power to make himself feel important. Unfortunately, his time has passed, as the Cult Awareness Network, and people like him, have been sued and bankrupted because of their illegal activities of kidnapping adults, holding them hostage, subjecting them to the same techniques they accuse the various religious organizations of using (isolation, coercion, sleep deprivation, emotional manipulation, and sexual temptation).
In the US, they are finished. Perhaps in other countries, they have not yet been exposed and regulated. The CAN group were advisors to US Attorney General Susan Reno on the Waco standoff, and their advice convinced Reno to order the FBI to storm the Branch Davidian's complex, causing the immolation of many unarmed, defenseless people, including children. That in turn led to other disasters like the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma by Timothy McVeigh. Scientologists have gotten CAN convicted in court, and fined, for their illegal activities, resulting in the complete turnover of all CAN materials and assets to key Scientologists.
For Hassan to style himself as the "expert" of a group that has so many actual crimes and loss of lives to its' credit is sort of like claiming credit for the Holocaust. You have to feel sorry for him. He's a sad guy, who thought his ticket to wealth and success lay in fomenting hate, and now, his arsenal has been spent, and his raucous cries of "lynch the so-and-so" don't work, because everyone else is turning from hate to love.
Regarding dealing with such comparisons as the Unification Movement to suicide cults, etc., I would be very matter of fact, and point out the actual record. While those groups sought to isolate from others, we go out and serve all others. While they glorified suicide, we teach that this is the worst thing one can ever do, because of the difficulty of restoring this from the spirit world. While they teach free sex, or sexual activity with the leader or leaders, we teach purity before marriage and absolute fidelity within marriage. While they focus on their small goals of gathering power, money or members, we have continually served those who do not belong to our movement, and have encouraged them to in turn, serve the greater community. (Science conference, World Media Conference, IRFF, Summit Council, Washington Times, home church, and now Family Federation for Unification and World Peace.)
Rev. and Mrs. Moon, in contrast to nearly every leader of powerful religious or charitable organizations, have a simple lifestyle, don't gather large amounts of material goods for themselves or their family, wear simple clothing, go to humble areas of the world and do physical hard work like fishing, and continually invest money, time, love and energy into things that help others, not themselves. Not even the Pope can stand up to that level of service and humility. What other religious man or woman has started boat building enterprises, machinery works, newspapers (well, a few here-Christian Science Monitor comes to mind), health food and herbal medicine companies, highway projects, etc.? Who else has entered the capitals of the worst dictatorships and anti-Christian countries and spoken directly about God to their top leaders? And who was the first one to give aid and help those countries, once they renounced the former system?
But even more intrinsic, who has worked tirelessly to bring all people, regardless of country or religion, back to the most central truth of our lives: that to be happy, we must be pure before marriage and faithful within marriage? Can any religion oppose this? No. Does it gain him a dime? No. Does it get him glory, members, political clout? Not so far. He's 77-it would be rather late for him to be building up to an eventual political career. Even if he was, marrying people or blessing them in their marriages seems like a detour, if anything, from a method of gaining power.
The positive side of all the attack he has endured is that no one group or church or country or race can say "he's ours." He never compromised his conscience to curry favor with the South Koreans or North Koreans, Japanese military or American government, though he served all of them with heart, work and money. Thus, they all jailed him, slandered him and treated him as the worst criminal. The communists attacked him-and he responded by loving them and lifting them out of their self-made nightmare. The Christians attacked and vilified him as the antichrist-and he loved them, served their churches and ministries, and uplifted them. Truthfully speaking, black people have the clearest conscience in regard to him, having more consistently been open and kind to Rev. Moon and his movement than any other group. Perhaps the white, Christian Americans have been the most prominent in their accusations and attacks. Yet, he has loved and served them more than any other group.
The facts are that in 77 years, no one has ever found one slightest speck of wrongdoing on his part, except the subjective interpretations of "he doesn't agree with me." It is because he won't succumb to bribery, seduction, drugs and alcohol, power-tripping, clique-based choices and other corruption that he has been rejected. Yet, he never rejected those same attackers. After being falsely accused, tried and convicted of trumped-up tax evasion charges in America, he went and shook hands with the prosecutor. He served the unjust and unearned jail sentence with love and service for all the other inmates, working side by side with them, honoring all the gag rules and uncomplainingly accepting the disrespect heaped on him. No one can maintain an act for 77 years, without letting the mask slip under pressure. He has endured concentration camp for 3 years, torture, starvation, poverty, death of his beloved children, massive persecution, assassination plots, betrayal-and yet, is smiling and cheerful, full of humor and compassion, free from bitterness or complaint. Even that is evidence of a character of great goodness.
Finally, the truest test is the test of time. If people had listened to Hitler and watched his actions in 1932, they could have foreseen World War II and the Holocaust. Though millions of Germans cheered for him in 1940, by 1946, he was the most reviled of all people, because time exposes each of us for what we are. Our thinking creates our actions, and our actions create our character, and our character creates our fate.
Jim Jones' thinking was hate filled, his actions were self-aggrandizing, and his character became ruthless and exploitative, culminating in a horrible fate for him and those who followed him. Same with all the false messiahs. Only one whose words are true, whose actions are loving, creates more and more goodness in the world through his or her existence. Ultimately, that is the kind of friend we want. That's the kind of defender we want at our side when we are in trouble. If Chile were being strangled by a dictatorship or an insurrection, who would they want to visit their leaders? A wimp, who won't tell them the truth? Or a man who will tell them even what they don't want to hear, but what is truly beneficial for the country? That is what the Russian people found, the people of the East Bloc, the people of North Korea, the people of Africa.
Rev. Moon has met with more than 100 world leaders, of many political and religious hues. But, he never changes his advice to any of them because of what they would like to hear. He tells each one "Love your wife. Be faithful in marriage. Teach your children purity. Be the moral educator of your nation, not just the leader. Educate the youth for purity and for leadership." Whether speaking to leaders in Washington or Burkina Faso, his message is the same.
Will Chile perish if it follows Rev. Moon's advice? Will marriages crumble if they follow his suggestions? Will the young people be stifled? Lose free will?
If people can't foresee that these things lead to goodness, they will just have to wait and observe the results over time. But then, when the realize the time they have wasted, they may have some feeling of regret over not having been part of the process.
Articles from the August 1997 Unification News