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American Militias : Rebellion, Racism & Religion by Richard Abanes List Price: $ 14.99 Our Price: $ 11.99 You Save: $ 3.00 (20%)

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Paperback - 296 pages (August 1996) Intervarsity Pr; ISBN: 0830813683 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.85 x 8.93 x 5.90 Amazon.com Sales Rank: 81,611 Avg. Customer Review: Number of Reviews: 4

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Reviews From Kirkus Reviews , June 1, 1996 Grabbed from today's headlines, a well-researched, thoroughly informative chronicle of the antigovernment militias that haunt America's heartland (the third in recent months, after studies by Kenneth Stern and Morris Dees). Religion and cult expert Abanes, founder of the Religious Information Center of Southern California, sets out to deconstruct militias and analyze the events and ideologies that have led to their frightening growth. With hundreds of interviews and militia texts at his disposal, Abanes describes the incredible paranoia that stalks the movement, fueling increasingly wild conspiracy theories about a UN plot to conquer the world and a federal conspiracy to enslave American citizens. In unadorned, occasionally stiff prose, the author explores the ideology shared by the various militias and traces its origins back to centuries-old theories of anti-Semitism and white supremacy. ``White supremacists currently couch their beliefs in more acceptable terms,'' Abanes writes, ``hiding their bigotry to present a sanitized image to the public and attract new recruits.'' One by one Abanes examines the leaders of the far right, including former Green Beret Bo Gritz (who recently attempted to negotiate with the Freemen in Idaho), lawyer Linda Thompson, even Pat Robertson, and reveals their ties to the hate community. Abanes is at his best when he's stripping down their arguments, demonstrating how militia leaders ``abuse rather than use the Bible,'' and skewering the faulty logic of the movement's self-styled leaders. Still, he is on no mission from the left: He blames the government bureaucracy for generating blizzards of alienating regulations, and the national law enforcement agencies for bungling matters at Waco and Ruby Ridge, with lethal results. A balanced and intellectually acute report on the militia men and women who seem disorganized and defensive now, but who one day may raise their voices in a fearsome roar. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Synopsis Abanes explains where the paramilitary groups come from, who are their members, what are their beliefs and how they are organized and motivated. Offering a thorough and balanced perspective, he describes many of the complex conspiracy theories that have gained a following among paramilitarists, show how racism and religion fuel many of their bizarre beliefs and goals, and suggests how their sometimes dangerous zealotry might be defused.

Synopsis In this study of militia movements, Richard Abanes describes conspiracy theories that shape paramilitarist thought, shows how racism and religion fuel their bizarre beliefs and goals, and suggest how their sometimes dangerous zealotry might be defused.

Customer Comments Average Customer Review: Number of Reviews: 4

gcamp@leeuniversity.edu , July 15, 1998 Superb overview of a dangerous ideology(ies) As one has come to expect from Richard Abanes, this work is nothing short of superb. It is an easy read and at the same time could (should) be used in seminars on both the undergraduate and graduate level. It has been said that the greatness of a man can be measured by his enemies: well, Mr. Abanes has made enemies of the conspiracy buffs, militia members, New World Order paranoids,and just about every other right-wing fringe group out there. I suspect his critics scarcely have an high school diploma among them and are, sadly, suckered into this philosophy of hate. Way to go, Richard, keep up the Good Work!

A reader from Philadelphia, PA , June 22, 1998 An excellent research source for militia/religion scholars. Richard Abane's contribution, "patriot" reviewers notwithstanding, is an excellent addition to the current spate of books on right-wing extremism, especially as it relates to religious groups and militias. To not understand the religious underpinnings of many of today's "patriot" extremists, is to miss the boat on where such ideology comes from and where it is going. Abanes's book relates how, in many cases, sincere Americans have become duped by religious bigots, posing as Christians, only to find themselves involved in quasi-paramilitary or anti-government activities that may lead down a path to violence and jail. I highly recommend this book to clergy, journalists, law enforcement and educators.

jon.roland@the-spa.com from Sacramento, California , November 17, 1997 Propaganda attempting to discredit the militia movement This book can be used as a sourcebook for material on both the militia movement and various racist groups, but like many other such books, it has an agenda of trying to lump the two distinct and opposed movements in order to discredit the militia movement. An example of the way the author pursues this agenda can be found on page 181, in a section on the racist Louis Beam. He references an article written by Beam calling for "leaderless resistance", then quotes the Militia Day Proclamation of 1994, without citing its author, which also discusses leaderless resistance, and says it "makes a clear reference to Beam's organizational structure". Well, I am the author of the Militia Day Proclamation, and at the time I had never heard of Beam, read any of his writings, or read any other racist literature of this kind. My discussion of the idea was based on a knowledge of the history of various resistance movements, especially the French Resistance to German occupation during World War II and various resistance efforts in the Soviet Union. Presumably Beam got the idea from a study of the same historical efforts. Abanes could hardly be unaware of this historical background. It has been mentioned in numerous histories, novels, and movies. He is trying to make his readers believe that this shows the militia movement grew out of racism. Nothing could be further from the truth.

noaddress@nosite.nodomain from Location Yeah, Right , September 12, 1997 This book is obviously another Anti-American, Anti-Militia smear job. Sure the author states at the beginning he was going to be fair and accurate, but he went on in a gradual fashion to link American patriots to Nazi's, the KKK and other groups who are part of the NWO conspiracy to destroy America's soverginity as a nation. Old Anti-Semetic stories are used to trash the descendants of brave American patriots who saved Jewish people from extinction during WWII by defeating Adolf Hitler. If anything Mr. Abanes, you're perpetuating Anti-Semitism by using it as a propaganda weapon in the first place. You, like Morris Dees and Kenneth Stern, are a hypocryte. For all patriots reading this, avoid this book at all costs, it is a brainwashing tool of the NWO. American Patriot


book on anti-semitism

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IFAS | Book of the Week | 990118.html

Anti-Semitism At Issue series

Laura Egendorf (editor) Hardcover | 109 pages | Greenhaven Press | 1999 | $15.96

Each book in this new anthology series focuses a wide range of viewpoints onto a single controversial issue, providing in-depth discussions by leading advocates of each perspective. Articles are uncut and footnotes and source notes are retained. These books offer the reader not only the full spectrum of dissent on the subject, but also the ability to test the validity of arguments by following up on sources used as evidence. Extensive book and periodical bibliographies and annotated lists of relevant organizations to contact offer a gateway to further research. This invaluable series provides a quick grounding in the issues, a challenge to critical thinking skills, and an excellent research tool in each inexpensive volume.

Includes: "Anti-Semitism Is an International Problem," Irwin Cotler; "Anti-Semitism Has Increased in the Middle East," Bernard Lewis; "The Christian Right Is Anti-Semitic," Skipp Porteous; "Black Anti-Semitism Is a Serious Problem," Joshua Muravchik; "Anti-Semitism Is Psychologically Damaging," Cherie Brown; "Anti-Semitism World Report," Institute for Jewish Policy Research and the American Jewish Committee; "Israeli Policies Exacerbate Anti-Semitism," Naim Ateek; "Christian America Is Not Anti-Semitic," Richard John Neuhaus; "Don't Blame Christians for Anti-Semitism," Joseph Sobran; "Assimilation Is a Greater Problem Than Anti-Semitism for American Jews," Alan M. Dershowitz.

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IFAS | Book of the Week | 980105.html

James Dobson's War on America

Gil Alexander-Moegerle $25.95 | Prometheus Books 1997 | Hardcover 306 pages

Best-selling religious author and White House Family Conference task-force member James Dobson formed, in 1977, the Focus on the Family corporation, an ultra-right-wing group that currently boasts a $100 million annual budget and a mailing list of 3.5 mil lion families. He hosts a daily half-hour radio show carried by 1,500 stations in North America and 3,400 more worldwide, with an estimated audience of over five million loyal listeners who tune in to hear him expound on "traditional, Christian family val ues."

This psychologist-turned-religious media guru has a personal agenda so ambitious that John Hockenberry of ABC News has noted, "On Capitol Hill, he's treated like some kind of powerful lobbyist." When Dobson opposes or supports legislation and calls on his followers to support him in pressuring Washington, it is common for the Hill to be bombarded with 500,000 to one million phone calls and letters within hours. Dobson lobbies Washington more powerfully than any other individual or organization within the religious right. But he does so without answering to the larger public for his positions, avoiding contact with the mainstream press and shunning the talk-show circuit. And, like many moralists who call themselves "God's chosen," Dobson has plenty to hide .

For the first time, the curtain of sanctimonious secrecy is lifted so that Dobson's followers and an America increasingly anxious over the power of the religious right can view this icon in all his stark reality. In James Dobson's War on America, f ormer Dobson executive and co-host of the "Focus on the Family" radio program Gil Alexander-Moegerle offers an insightful and detailed expose of this religious powerbroker and his strong-arm corporation.

Based on his ten years' experience within the Focus on the Family organization, the author's telling, behind-the-scenes look at the very private world of James Dobson traces his religious background and ultraconservative religious beliefs; his deepest inn er feelings; the communication and marketing formula that helped him amass a fortune; his inner rage; his intense racism, sexism, and homophobia; his ongoing battle with the media; internal difficulties that led to boardroom allegations of mismanagement o f donor funds; his budding "civil war of values"; and his radical political plan for America.

The most telling description of James Dobson might be put succinctly: he is not what he appears to be. This chasm between the highly crafted public persona that exudes love and concern, and the fiercely competitive, ruthless, power-hungry, and materialist ic private man reveals an almost Jekyll-and-Hyde dualism. Alexander-Moegerle's penetrating appraisal offers a former high-level insider's look at the Dobson machine and issues a warning call to concerned citizens, liberal and conservative alike, to oppose this man who, if given the opportunity; would suspend most of the liberties we hold dear.

Gil Alexander-Moegerle (Los Angeles, CA), a twenty-year veteran of radio and TV production and a former executive within the religious broadcasting community, is a manager at Edison International. A co-founder of Focus on the Family, he served on its boar d of directors as a fund-raising consultant, radio talk-show host, and editor of the corporation's magazine.

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IFAS | Book of the Week | 980202.html

With God on Our Side The Rise of the Religious Right in America

William Martin $15.00 | Broadway Books 1996 | Softcover 418 pages

William Martin begins his book with a description of the origins of the modern American religious right in the Puritanism of 17th century Massachusetts. He concludes it with a passionately dispassionate defense of the fundamental American constitutional principle that church and state must be kept separate and apart, for the ultimate benefit of both.

Other reviewers have described this book as "evenhanded" and "sympathetic." Professor Martin is scrupulously factual in his narrative. He lets the leadership of the religious right explain their own position through the extensive use of quotes. He does no t engage in the character assassination that often infects the rhetoric of members of the religious right, whether they are attacking leftist liberals, or fellow reactionaries who do not happen to precisely agree with them on some point of politics or theology.

He goes out of his way to humanize certain leaders of the religious right. For example, he relates how the fundamentalist Jerry Falwell consciously excluded the theologically charismatic Pat Robertson from the leadership of the Moral Majority when it was formed in 1980. Robertson believes in speaking in tongues, faith healing and prophesy. As Martin tells us, "Falwell once facetiously attributed tongue-speaking to eating bad pizza."

However, he definitely has a point of view on one of the three major challenges to traditional American constitutional democracy we face today: the religious right's central dictum that the 200-year-old constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state should be rescinded in favor of a particular religious doctrine that of American, biblically inerrant, primarily Protestant, right wing Christian theocratic fundamentalism. (The other two major challenges concern the continued existence of an inde pendent judiciary, and the drive to return to the pre-Civil War concept of Federalism, a concept that permitted slavery.)

As Professor Martin writes at the conclusion of his book:

"As a basic premise, we must remember that the Founding Fathers intended that the state be neutral toward all religions, but did not intend that religious people or their organizations be neutralized... Of course, religious people have a right to be invo lved in political activity, and they cannot be expected to leave their religious convictions behind when they enter the political arena... [They] may all legitimately work to shape public policy, within the limits of the Constitution which has served us s o admirably in avoiding society-rending religious conflicts.

"There are, however, real and reasonable limits to that shaping process. The most important of these is that a religious body does not have the right...to bind its specifically religious doctrines on others...

"Nobody [in the view of the Founding Fathers] has a corner on Truth, Justice, and the American Way."

This is a carefully researched, well-referenced, well-written, highly informative book. In a brief, but factually and analytically rich introduction, the author places the modern American religious right in its historical context from the 17th century thr ough the World War II era. The main body of the book deals, in detail, with its second-half-of-the-20th-century major variants, and its major and minor leaders from Billy Graham to Pat Robertson often in the context of American presidential politics.

One of the most important historical lessons of this book is that, at least from the time of the founding of the republic, the religious right has presented virtually nothing that is conceptually new, from the notion of the supremacy of some "natural law" over constitutional law, to the notion that only laissez-faire capitalism can and should stand as the foundation of the US economic system.

Fundamentalists of every era have held that the nation stands on the brink of, or has already descended, into moral disaster, and that only a massive religious revival, on their terms, can save it. Further, they have held, variously, that if only abortion , "smut," homosexuals, sex education, contraceptives, drink, or non-Christians were banned from public and private life, then all of the nation's problems, real and imagined, would be solved.

One characteristic of the contemporary religious right described in detail by Professor Martin may be its ultimately fatal flaw: the inability of certain of its key components to accept any kind of political or theological compromise, even among themselve s, much less with the mass of the American people. That has been a characteristic of the forever-splintering, "inerrant," Protestant evangelical movement since the Great Revival of the early 19th century. In the absence of any effective Left in this count ry, that may be all that those of us who believe in the wonders of American constitutional democracy have to hope for.

Reviewed by Johnathan Westminster


Contested Narratives

A Case Study of the Conflict between a New Religious Movement and its Critics

by Julius H.Rubin, Professor of Sociology Saint Joseph CollegeWest Hartford, CT 06117

This paper was presented at the annual meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, November 5-8, Montreal, Canada.

The final version of this essay will be published in a forthcoming book Misunderstanding Cults, edited by Benjamin Zablocki and Thomas Robbins

"The battle has been about free speech, and free speech is about disagreement. And so we disagree." Salman Rushdie regarding Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1989 religious edict charging blasphemy and authorizing Rushdie's death for Satanic Verses.[1]

This essay examines the strange and troubling story of how one new religious group has attempted to suppress freedom of speech for apostates and social scientists who have published critical analyses, raised troubling questions, and made serious charges about the institutional practice and individual conduct of members of this religious group. We will consider the masterful public relation efforts where this sect has manipulated the media to produce puff pieces that have supported their protected and idealized image. We will detail the strategies employed to attack and quiet the voices of apostates and academic critics, branding them as the demonic "enemies of the faith." This story reveals an irony: to protect their religious brotherhood the sect has engaged in unbrotherly actions as they oppose their critics and the organized resistance of apostates.

The group in question, the Bruderhof, is a high-demand Christian community of goods. Within their church-community, they struggle to create and maintain the absolute unity of their brotherhood. The faithful surrender in radical discipleship to the mandate of the Holy Spirit, as mediated to them by their leadership. The Bruderhof cleaves to a single belief system, a dogmatic orthodoxy. The leadership prevents their common brothers and sisters from enjoying unrestricted access to newspapers, radio, television, popular culture and the Internet. Within the sect, they do not tolerate open debate, but instead demand unquestioning conformity to community standards of belief and practice.

Within their religious community, Bruderhof true believers may indeed choose to abdicate liberty of conscience and free speech. However, they have attempted to impose their narrow orthodoxy and understanding of the "truth about the Bruderhof" upon the outside world. In an open, democratic society founded upon the constitutional principles of freedom of speech, citizens enjoy a broad spectrum of protected speech. In the academy, a sociologist of religion, has the right to pursue theoretical and empirical investigations of the discipline even when this inquiry takes the researcher into areas of controversy and conflict between orthodoxy and apostates.

Learned Hand articulated the underlying constitutional principle that forms the foundation of academic freedom in the academy and freedom of speech -- the open marketplace of ideas in the public sphere. He writes that "the interest, which [the First Amendment] guards, and which gives it its importance, presupposed that there are no orthodoxies -- religious, political, economic, or scientific -- which are immune from debate and dispute."[2] The actions of a religious group that seek to impose orthodoxy and abridge freedom of speech and academic freedom are a threat to the fundamental tenets of liberal democracy.

The Bruderhof Communities

The Bruderhof (also known in past times as the Society of Brothers or Hutterian Brethren), is a Christian intentional community founded in the 1920s in Germany by Eberhard Arnold. It is now entering its fourth generation, with eight settlements or 'hofs', and approximately 2,200 members in America and England. They support themselves by manufacturing quality children's toys under the trade name 'Community Playthings', and products for disabled people through Rifton Enterprises.

Visitors to the Bruderhof encounter a peculiar combination of a medieval village community and late twentieth-century technological sophistication that includes ultramodern telecommunications, Japanese manufacturing techniques, a community-owned Gulfstream jet, and extensive computerization. Hof life appears idyllic. Violent crime, illicit drug abuse, or economic and material concerns are largely absent from their lives. Premarital sexual activity is prohibited, and single parent families are largely unknown in the community. Divorce is not permitted. Thus, Bruderhof families are not disrupted by family patterns that characterize the wider society.

The ethical mandate of the Sermon on the Mount serves as the biblical foundation for Bruderhof settlements. Believers, surrendered into radical discipleship to Jesus, strive to overcome their sinful alienation from God through conversion and adult baptism. They emulate the apostolic Church by devoting themselves to the fulfillment of the Sermon on the Mount, espousing the principles of pacifism and non-resistance to evil. The brotherhood holds all things in common, rejecting the divisiveness caused by private property and the pursuit of worldly privilege and power. The faithful are bound together in unanimity of thought and belief and espouse an ethic of brotherly love.

In strict conformity to the teachings of Jesus, the community enforces purity of conduct, thought and intentionality in the hearts and minds of true believers. The Church community keeps close watch to ensure that members hold to their religious ethos, motivated by the leadings of the Holy Spirit. They practice the brotherly watch to purify themselves from sin. Their ethos strictly regulates all forms of conduct, belief, appearance, dress and demeanor, with particular emphasis upon the repression of premarital or extramarital sexual expression. Brothers and sisters are prohibited from gossip or idle chatter. Should differences or conflicts arise between members, they must go directly to the person or persons in question and strive to bring a peaceful and loving resolution of these differences or 'unpeace'. Church discipline requires public confession and repentance of sin, and exclusion of the errant sinner into the world. Only by fostering absolute unity, the Bruderhof maintains, can it collectively form a vessel to capture the Holy Spirit in childlike joy, humility and surrender to Jesus.

The first Bruderhof community at Sannerz, Germany, in 1921, began as a charismatic group devoted to Eberhard Arnold. This countercultural commune attracted educated, middle class youth from the student movement and German Christian Movement, who rejected the rationalized orders of modern society. The early members of the Bruderhof embraced an ethic of universal brotherhood, assured of the millennial advent of the Redeemer's Kingdom in their lifetime. The Bruderhof relocated in 1927 to Fulda, Germany, to the Rhoen community.

In the period 1928-32, Arnold struggled to develop financial, organizational and doctrinal stability for his charismatic Church. He found the solution to the 'routinization of charisma' by adopting the religious orders and administrative blueprint of North American Hutterite communities. Arnold traveled to America, received ordination as a Hutterite minister, and affiliated his community with this Anabaptist conventicle.

Bruderhof members steadfastly refused to cooperate with the Nazis, to surrender their sons for compulsory military service, or to utter the oath of allegiance to the Nazi race-based salvation state. One year before Arnold's untimely death in 1935, they founded the Alm Bruderhof in neutral Liechtenstein and secreted draft-age men out of Germany. The Gestapo and SS closed the Rhoen community in 1937, seizing the property and deporting the members. The Alm community relocated in England in 1939-41, until the British forced the relocation of German nationals. The Bruderhof could not find asylum in North America, but was permitted to migrate to the underdeveloped Chaco region of Paraguay. The Primavera, Paraguay, El Arado, Uruguay hofs served as the center of Bruderhof communitarianism until their closing in 1960. After World War II, new hofs were started in Germany and in England.

Heinrich (Heini) Arnold, Eberhard's middle child, championed the conservative counter-trend, and continually attempted to redirect the movement to revitalize his father's theological vision.

The critical turning point in the Bruderhof movement came in 1954 with the founding of the Woodcrest Hof in Rifton, New York. As Servant of the Word at Woodcrest, allied with enthusiastic American converts, Heini dissolved the Primavera and European brotherhoods, liquidated the community assets, and excluded several hundred baptized members during what is known as the Great Crisis of 1959-61. Hundreds of people were uprooted; many saw their lives shattered as they were rejected from the new brotherhood lists and made to forge new lives after decades of faithful service to the pioneering communities in Paraguay, Germany and England.

The Great Crisis became the watershed that transformed the Bruderhof. Heini revitalized the movement in separation from the world as an introversionist sect, emphasizing evangelical pietist conversion models and extreme emotional fervor and devotionalism.

The Bruderhof and Hutterites have shared the Anabaptist vision of a community of goods, pacifism, and separatism in a Church community to recreate the Kingdom of Christ in dynamic tension with the carnal kingdom of the world. They are organized as inclusive Church-communities, where the exercise of administrative and religious power is concentrated in the hands of Church leaders who interpret the Spirit and word of God.

The Bruderhof members have passed down control of their movement to Eberhard Arnold's son and grandson in hereditary succession of office. This traditionalism is legitimated as emanating from the will of God, whose divine order has also created a hierarchy of patriarchal relations between husband and wife, parent and child, and leader and follower. Authority patterns are believed to have originated with God; leaders serve as his instrument, providing spiritual and temporal rulership over the congregation. They also believe that God decreed an organic social order where men exercise authority over women, and parents over children.

The promises of salvation are inextricably tied to the surrender to God's will and the believer's submission to divinely-legitimated hierarchical authority. In this manner, the Bruderhof instills habits of unquestioning obedience to the authority of the witness brothers and the servant of the word. Church discipline derives from the book of Matthew, enjoining brothers, motivated by love, to engage in fraternal correction and admonishment of the offending member, urging the offender to seek repentance, reform and return to good standing within the community. However, those persons whose ideas or individual consciences endanger doctrinal orthodoxy; those who stand against the leadership and threaten unity; those who cannot or will not repent and reform from sinful thoughts and conduct, must be punished with increasingly severe forms of church discipline.

The threat of exclusion proves a powerful and dreaded method of social control in the Bruderhof. A brotherhood member's baptismal vow to the community takes precedence over any natural ties of blood to spouse, children or kin. Exclusion invariably disrupts families as those who remain must shun the offending brother, or watch helplessly as their loved one is forced to depart the community. The trauma of ostracism, exclusion, family disruption and shame is shared by the family, falling most heavily upon children. Paradoxically, the Bruderhof stresses joyful surrender and abiding love, yet imposes the most severe penalties of civic-religious 'death', mental suffering and unbrotherly rejection of the unrepentant sinner.

The members of the Bruderhof are, by their own account, "authoritarian with respect to Christ" requiring the undivided loyalty of their members.[3] The concentration of spiritual and political power into an elite leadership group of servants, ever-obsessed with unity, has resulted in the continued and systematic abuse of Church discipline as a political device to expel members, who because of individual conscience, question or oppose community policy. Such persons stand charged with sins of pride, selfishness and egoism, and are said to be motivated by 'the wrong spirit', or to have lukewarm zeal.

Many Bruderhof apostates recount childhoods marked by family disruptions when one or both parents were excluded. Children suffered beatings, administered by parents, as ordered by leaders, with the purpose of using physical discipline to "win the children to the life."[4] Others tell of times in childhood when adults conducted interrogations, known as 'clearances', to garner confessions of sexual sin and impurity.

Young women confront the issues of powerlessness and gender inequality in spiritual and temporal roles, and severe limits are placed upon their aspirations and participation in the community. Women especially bear the burdens of Gelassenheit, resignation and self-renunciation to the will of God, as enforced by the patriarchy.

Many journalists, visitors and guests have extolled the virtues of this Christian community by writing uncritical accounts of the Bruderhof. In the past five years, more than fifty articles in local and national publications such as Sojourners, Christian Century and The New York Times have presented an apologetic, uncritical, idealized and sentimentalized portrait of the community.[5] Local newspapers in American communities adjacent to Bruderhof settlements print a seemingly endless series of human interest stories that, for example, portray blond and fair children weaving garlands of flowers in celebration of nature and the coming of spring. Somber, bearded men in plain shirts, suspenders and trousers march in a 'peace witness' against nuclear war or the death penalty. Women with heads covered in polka-dot kerchiefs and attired in long, modest dresses go about their daily routine with heads bowed in humility. High-minded men and women unite in Christian community as seekers of God's Kingdom. I term these one-sided accounts of the Bruderhof, telling the "Bruderhof story" as a public relations exercise that presents the community in an unreflective and uncritical light. The community has attempted to preserve the Bruderhof story as the only credible and legitimate presentation of Bruderhof history and social reality by suppressing and discrediting the voices of apostates and academic critics.

Who Controls the Interpretation of Bruderhof History?

I began my research for a book about the Bruderhof in the spring of 1991 when they were called the Eastern Brotherhoods of the Hutterian Church, and were still affiliated with the Hutterites and Anabaptism. Hutterites have actively cooperated with social scientists who have conducted community mental health surveys. Hutterites have developed a folk psychiatry to diagnose and treat the spiritual affliction, Anfechtung, where believers suffer religious melancholy.[6] The Hutterite confession of faith enjoins them from using the state or courts of law. I assumed that the Eastern Brotherhoods would, like their Western co-religionists, allow me to study their group, freely acknowledge the propensity of the faithful to suffer religious despondency, and view the use of lawsuits of anathema to their faith commitment. I was mistaken on all counts.

The Bruderhof has steadfastly opposed my research and refused to assist me. At the beginning of my research, I informed the Bruderhof and ex-members of my belief that the spiritual crises of Bruderhof young men and women were related to the central tenets of their theology, practice, church discipline and communal life. The Bruderhof disagreed and found this critical perspective unacceptable. They did, however, grant permission to the Israeli scholar, Yaacov Oved, to write an authorized history, Witness of the Brothers. Oved wrote a celebratory and uncritical account that reflected considerable editorial and scholarly control exercised by the Bruderhof.[7] The issues that divided my research from Oved's scholarship were control and academic autonomy. The Bruderhof opposed all scholarship where they did not control the questions asked, the evidence made available for investigation, the interpretative framework employed, and the conclusions drawn.

Who "owns" Bruderhof history? Who has the right or the power to articulate the "authentic," "true," and "objective" interpretation of the Bruderhof movement -- their doctrine, communal organization, and church practice? Who controls the collective memory about the Bruderhof? Who can speak with authority about their "invented traditions" -- Bruderhof rituals, ceremonials and commemorations?[8]

From the founding of the first American Bruderhof, Woodcrest in Rifton, New York in 1954 until 1989, the Bruderhof religious leadership controlled their collective memory and the interpretation of their tradition. Through their publishing company, the Bruderhof has printed their canonical writings and two histories of the sect. A monthly magazine, The Plough, advanced the "Bruderhof story." Employing skillful public relations with the national media, the Bruderhof has garnered endorsements by renown theologians and religious leaders such as Thomas Merton, John Yoder, Henri Neuman, and Mother Theresa; and sociologists John A. Hostetler and Pitriam Sorokin. Sympathetic politicians and church leaders extol their community. These efforts have fostered a climate of opinion that casts the Bruderhof as quaint, "Amish-like" folk who embrace religious brotherhood and community.

Each year the Bruderhof welcomes a diverse ensemble of guests: religious seekers, people from the margin, curious neighbors, reporters, and persons from a broad spectrum of religious beliefs and spiritual politics from the left to the right. Many guests are predisposed to see and experience a confirmation of "the Bruderhof story." The Bruderhof appears to them as a remedy to the social problems of modern societies. I marvel at how the Bruderhof has served as Rorschach test, an ink-blot for individuals and groups who are troubled by frustrations, malaise, and insecurities and use the Bruderhof as a screen to project their deepest spiritual aspirations. Reporters and guests are taken on limited tours of the community where they experience the joyous aspects of group solidarity -- communal dining, working, and singing. (They do not attend brotherhood meetings and do not see the exercise of church discipline. Guests are not prevented from free access to books, news media, and information.) Their first impressions after a staged, carefully scripted and supervised visit, invariably confirm the "Bruderhof story."

Mainstream Americans typically live individuated lives, pursuing careers in a competitive, capitalist market economy. Our postindustrial mass society has demonstrated a genius for commodifying all aspects of material and symbolic production (including religious and secular holidays) under the ethos of consumerism. We pursue festive retailing in malls -- our secular cathedrals. Here we shop for what the mass media packages as lifestyles -- claims to prestige and happiness -- ideas, "value and belief systems." Participation in institutional religion is compartmentalized and limited to major holidays and sabbath worship. "Spirituality" has become a privatized, individual exercise of the consumption of commodified avenues to the transcendental, to healing, and self-realization, largely cut free from ecclesiastical and theological moorings.

The Bruderhof story alternatively, speaks to the highest ideals of Christian religious vocation and appears, at first glance, as an antidote to the crisis of modernity. In place of subjectivism, individualism, and relativism of belief, the Bruderhof calls for an absolute commitment to ultimate values. In place of consumerism, the Bruderhof demands a simplified life of all things in common, an end of private wants and property. In place of violence, competition and coercion, the Bruderhof promotes the ethic of brotherhood and love espoused in the Sermon on the Mount.

In 1989, Ramon Sender began publication of KIT (Keep In Touch) a monthly newsletter of the memories and accounts of Bruderhof apostates -- persons expelled from or who had left the community. For the first time, the Bruderhof faced an organized opposition to their collective memory and public image. Sender, an excluded novice who had to leave his wife and young daughter in Woodcrest in 1957, discovered by happenstance that his daughter had recently died. The community had for decades denied him the right to visit, telephone, or correspond with his daughter. He learned of her death a month after the funeral. Sender wished to learn more about the daughter that he had been prevented from knowing, and to write a book to commemorative her life. He explains:

"When the Bruderhof leadership turned down my request to interview Bruderhof members, I began to search for ex-members. . . . By the end of the month, I had talked to more than thirty and personally visited four. By the end of the second month, I had spoken to over sixty. They all asked about the others I had contacted and wanted their news and addresses."[9]

Soon, the ex-members began corresponding with one-another in a round-robin letter which Sender and a small editorial group instituted as a monthly newsletter. He explains: "The KIT newsletter started as a modest two-sheet page sent to thirty or so names, but within four months it expanded to ten-thousand word issues mailed every month to over one hundred addresses. As the volume of incoming mail grew, four Bruderhof graduates and survivors formed the newsletter staff. By 1990, the newsletter grew to 20,000 words per issue and was mailed to over 450 addresses. Most of the copy consisted of letters received from ex-Bruderhofers scattered all over the world."[10]

KIT now operates under the umbrella of a tax-exempt Peregrine Foundation, (founded in 1992)hosts an Internet web site and sponsors annual reunions. In 1993, KIT added a summer reunion in England for European ex-members. KIT also publishes book-length memoirs of apostates under the imprimatur of the Carrier Pigeon Press. Since 1992, the press has published Roger Allain's The Community That Failed and Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe's Torches Extinguished, Memories of a Communal Bruderhof Childhood in Paraguay, Europe and the USA, Belinda Manley's Through Streets Broad and Narrow, Nadine Moonje Pleil's Free From Bondage, and Miriam Arnold Holmes, Cast Out Into the World.

The letters printed in KIT express their outrage at the official Bruderhof apologetic where KITfolk, as bearers of a contested collective memory, reveal the traumatic events of the Great Crisis and more recent Bruderhof history. Many define themselves as survivors, "graduates" and exiles who are compelled to remember and inform an indifferent world that the truths about the Bruderhof must now be told. These truths have to do with abuse of church discipline resulting in the disruption of families, and refusal by the Bruderhof to permit family reunions and visitation by former members.

KIT and the Bruderhof wage a war over contested collective memory. For example, Plough Publishing publishes Torches Rekindled as an apologetic defense of Bruderhof doctrine and history, while KIT publishes the counter-claim, Torches Extinguished. This battle continues over the Internet with competing Bruderhof and KIT home pages on the World Wide Web, [11]the newsgroup alt.support.bruderhof and websites created by other Bruderhof apostates.

KIT public relations effectively used Internet, print, and electronic media to challenge Bruderhof orthodoxy. By 1992, KIT sent "media packets" containing reprints of articles about the Bruderhof to reporters and news outlets that were writing about the Bruderhof. KIT had become an institutionalized opposition to the commune, contesting many of their claims to be a loving brotherhood of disciples of Jesus. Bruderhof religious leadership considered KIT and those who possessed the demonic "KIT Spirit" to be avowed enemies of the faith determined to destroy the Bruderhof and all those who surrendered their lives to Jesus

The Attack Upon the "Enemies of the Faith"

During the 1990s after their schism with the Western Hutterite Church, the Bruderhof evolved into a series of secular business enterprises and a charitable 501d organization known as the Bruderhof Communities. They secured trademark protection for their name, instituted a legal affairs office, named corporate presidents and vice presidents of their manufacturing, aircraft leasing, and business ventures. For the first time in Bruderhof history, these corporate officers, with the knowledge and consent of the religious leadership, could use the courts and legal strategies to defend themselves against KIT and all perceived enemies of the faith.

The Bruderhof instituted new policies in the 1990s that appear to contradict their history of pacifism and Anabaptist belief that Christians must not use the courts or police to defend themselves. In the past, the Bruderhof advocated that they must place their unconditional trust in Jesus. Although they might suffer injustice and even martyrdom at the hands of their enemies, they must bear witness to their profound faith commitment.

In 1990-1991, Johann Christoph Arnold, the head religious leader, secured a permit to carry a concealed weapon in New York and purchased two hand guns. (The Bruderhof maintains that Arnold has since disposed of these guns.) Bruderhof corporate presidents aggressively pursued their right to legal self-defense. The leadership called the Connecticut police to arrest an ex-member for trespass when he attended a Bruderhof Open House in 1995. The commune pressed criminal charges for fraud and extortion in 1996 against a disturbed ex-member who threatened to write a book about the community unless he was granted the right to visit his family living inside the commune.

By late 1995, Bruderhof corporate and religious leaders believed that KIT had acquired the customer mailing lists and subscriber lists to Bruderhof enterprises and constituted a dire threat to the economic survival of the commune. At this time, KIT public relations and criticism of the Bruderhof had broken through to regional and national media markets. In response to what the Bruderhof perceived as ominous threat to their existence, they began a campaign of harassment and litigation against KIT and Bruderhof critics.

In October, 1995 the Boston ABC television televised a report critical of the Bruderhof in their Chronicle news program. The Chronicle report investigated charges that Bruderhof elder Johann Christoph Arnold had secured a concealed weapons permit and purchased two handguns in 1991, and allegations that the Bruderhof practiced forms of church discipline that refused to allow apostates contact with family members inside the commune.

Following the Chronicle broadcast, two Bruderhof corporate presidents requested a meeting with me which took place on October 25, 1995 at Yale University. During our two hour conversation, the leaders again emphasized that I did not have their permission to study the community or write a book about the Bruderhof. The message was clear: stop speaking with the media and do not proceed with your scholarship.

In the spring of 1995, a small group of KIT activists formed a membership organization, "Children of the Bruderhof, International" (COBI). They initiated a toll free telephone number intended to assist persons inside and outside of the Bruderhof who wanted information or assistance. COBI's help line appeared in the New York telephone yellow pages nestled between Bruderhof and Hutterian Church numbers. The community responded with more than two thousand harassing telephone calls. The billing records reveal that these calls originated from Bruderhof community telephones or public telephones adjacent to their hofs. Printed fluorescent bumper stickers with the COBI help number were printed and distributed at several airports, giving the mistaken impression that this number was a free telephone sex line:

"SWEET TALK -- Joella and Karen are Waiting FOR YOUR CALL -- 24 Hours -- 7 Days." [12]

Bruderhof spokesperson Joseph Keiderling attributed the phone calls to Bruderhof adolescents acting outside of the control of the leadership.[13] Bruderhof officials deny responsibility for the SWEET TALK advertisements.

In September 1995 , the Bruderhof filed a civil lawsuit in federal district court in Albany, New York charging COBI with trademark infringement over the use of the names "Bruderhof" and "Hutterian" in their Yellow Pages help line advertisement. The Bruderhof sought $50,000 in damages and hoped to compel COBI to change their name and refrain from using the Bruderhof trademark. The Bruderhof reached an out-of-court settlement with COBI in the summer of 1996. The settlement protected the Bruderhof trademark, ended COBI and the help telephone line, and dismissed any Bruderhof claim to monetary damages.

In March, 1996, the Bruderhof sponsored in Philadelphia, the first of a series of planned regional debates regarding the death penalty in America. The Bruderhof leadership met in New York City, on September 13, 1995, with attorney Leonard Weinglass and Ben Chaney, brother of the slain civil rights leader, James Chaney, to form an ad hoc coalition under the umbrella agency, the National Commission of Capital Punishment (NCCP). The NCCP advisory committee included notables such as Sr. Helen Prejean, of Dead Man Walking fame, actor Edward Asner, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and numerous organizations that promote social justice for the poor and advocate for minority rights. The NCCP's mission was to revisit the question of capital punishment, twenty years after the Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions. The Commission hoped to educate the public and foster a national conversation and debate that would lead to legislative efforts to end what the Bruderhof considered to be "the ultimate revenge." The Bruderhof formed a tax-exempt Bruderhof Foundation to solicit contributions for their Death Row Inmate Legal Defense Fund. The community formed a youth folk band, "Just-US" (pronounced "justice") and produced a first album, "Within the Justice System." Most important for the Bruderhof, they scheduled the first of a series of regional hearings under the auspices of the NCCP in Philadelphia on March 25-27, 1996, centered, in part, upon the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1982 of the murder of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, and has spent more than a decade on death row, appealing the conviction and awaiting execution. He has written his memoirs and become a national cause celebre.

Ramon Sender contacted Philadelphia media and the Fraternal Order of Police, (FOP) before the hearings, providing them with the KIT public relations packet. Sender argued that the Bruderhof, as a authoritarian group, does not respect the individual rights of its members, and does not value democratic process. They should not mediate the public debate over the controversial issue of capital punishment. The Bruderhof had scheduled the first hearings in Philadelphia City Hall, which gave the appearance of official, political endorsement of their stand in the Jamal case. The FOP, under the leadership of Richard Costello, held a news conference on the morning of March 25, airing the video tape of the Chronicle report and calling the Bruderhof a "cult." Local newspapers, television stations, and a late night radio show recounted KIT allegations. News accounts with interviews of Bruderhof leaders counterpoised by questions raised Sender and other KITfolk, and by sociologists Zablocki and Rubin, made the Bruderhof religious controversy, not capital punishment, the center of public debate. Although the Bruderhof mobilized political and religious groups to defend them, the remaining regional death penalty hearings were canceled and the NCCP disappeared from the website.

In March 27, 1997, CBS New magazine 48 Hours televised a report critical of the Bruderhof, broadcasting this piece together with a sensational breaking story about the Heaven's Gate religious suicide. As background to this news story, The Malek Group, a Manhattan public relations firm then contracted by the Bruderhof, had contacted CBS in October,1996, urging 48 Hours to film a short piece on the beauty of Advent and Christmas at the Bruderhof. I received a telephone call from the executive producer who had just returned to her offices in Manhattan following a visit to the Woodcrest Bruderhof outside of Albany, New York. The news crew taped a Christmas musical program with Cardinal John O'Connor in attendance as the Bruderhof's 350 voices united in four part harmony to celebrate Advent. She told me that she found the performance transporting, moved to tears by their simplicity, unity, and joyous religious brotherhood.

The producer demanded to know how I had the audacity to criticize this group or to associate their spirituality with depressive illness. "Why are you their enemy? Why do you oppose their commitment to Jesus?" she demanded."You know nothing about this group and yet you persist in attacking them!"This harangue continued for thirty minutes until she had vented her anger. The Bruderhof had supplied her with my name and telephone number, characterizing me as an "enemy." The Bruderhof leadership had urged CBS to contract me and KITfolk, apparently, believing that the national media might effectively discredit my work. I urged CBS staff to investigate a variety of news sources both critical and supportive of the Bruderhof when they researched their story.

In the ensuing four months, CBS had interviewed scores of KITfolk, Benjamin Zablocki and me and had reached a more balanced, albeit critical story on the Bruderhof/Kit controversy. The Bruderhof strategy of using the media to discredit their enemies had failed, bringing unfavorable national notice to the Bruderhof.

The Bruderhof mobilized to defend themselves. They contested the facts of the news account and protested the association with a "cult," calling upon famous and influential friends to denounce the story, CBS, and Dan Rather who narrated the program.

On April 7th, the "Refuse and Resist" website allied with the Bruderhof's campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and end capital punishment, posted a broadside urging supporters to protest against CBS, listing the address and telephone numbers of the producer.

James M. Wall, executive editor of The Christian Century, wrote a lead editorial in the May 21-28 issue, characterizing the program as a "distorted and shameful display of an antireligious bias for which Dan Rather, the show's producers and CBS should apologize profusely to the Bruderhof community."[14] Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, now a prominent New York Attorney and Bruderhof associate in the NCCP, sent Dan Rather a scathing letter on June 11, 1997 (also posted on the Bruderhof website) demanding an apology and stating: "The program was a great disservice to truth, an assault on the right of everyone to freely exercise a chosen religion and an insult to the common sense of the American people."

According the Wall, Clark and others, when CBS broadcast a story that raised probing questions about Bruderhof church discipline and treatment of former members, or asking if the commune had become "cultlike" in ways that resembled Heaven's Gate, then CBS was guilty of dishonesty, antireligious bias, and abusing the public trust. Apparently the Bruderhof and their friends believed that only an uncritical puff piece that restated "the Bruderhof story" constituted the responsible exercise of freedom of speech in a democratic society.

CBS did not retract the show and apologize to the Bruderhof. On June 15, 1997 the Bruderhof brought legal action in the Manhattan Supreme Court seeking discovery and disclosure of reporter's notes, unedited video tapes, and materials from the many persons and sources used in this story. According to CBS sources, the Bruderhof attempted to discover evidence of slander and defamation from the reporter's sources and interviews as a method of gathering evidence to prepare a defamation lawsuit against CBS, the KITfolk, and social scientists interviewed for the story. On August 5, 1997, the case was dismissed.

During the dispute with CBS, the Bruderhof launched a many-sided attack upon their perceived enemies. On March 24, 1997, the Bruderhof served Ramon Sender, editor of KIT, with a suit for copyright infringement in federal District Court after he reprinted a letter sent by Christian Domer, a Bruderhof corporate president, on January 23, 1997 to Michael Waldner, a Hutterite living in South Dakota. The Hutterites, as is their practice, faxed Domer's letter to scores of separate colonies. Eventually, a fax reached the KIT newsletter. KIT publishes opinion and news about the Bruderhof/Hutterite schism as an integral part of KIT's public service as a tax-exempt organization.

In late July, 1997, the Bruderhof filed a 15.5 million dollar defamation lawsuit against Ramon Sender, Blair Purcell, myself and the Peregrine Foundation, sponsor of the KIT newsletter. Sender and Purcell were sued for writing allegedly defamatory statements in KIT. I was charged with defamation for remarks that I made during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station in March, 1996 where I questioned their sponsorship of death penalty hearings and raised questions about their participation in the Social Security System. (The suit was dismissed in November 1997 and the Bruderhof dropped their appeal on December 20, 1997 and withdrew the copyright infringement lawsuit against Ramon Sender.)

The Bruderhof strategies in dealing with KIT and academic critics first attempted to quiet them by private persuasion or manipulating the media to discredit them. When these efforts failed, the Bruderhof mobilized the Internet, and influential friends to bring pressure upon the media to retract critical stories and apologize. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, the Bruderhof began a series of lawsuits intended to punish their critics and to prevent the publication of my book.

'You Do Not have Permission to Study Us'

(interview with two Bruderhof corporate spokespersons, Yale University, October 24, 1995)

In February, 1997, Oxford University accepted the second revision of my manuscript, The Other Side of Joy, Religious Melancholy Among the Bruderhof, (OSJ) and issued a contract for the publication of this book. By early June, the work had entered the production process. Oxford University Press advertised the work in their fall catalog and secured a copyright and ISBN with the Library of Congress. Amazon.com, the internet book seller, listed the title as a forthcoming work in their database. The anticipated November 1997 publication of my book became public knowledge. (The book was taken out of production in late June after I informed my editor of the law suit brought against CBS. The manuscript has been vetted by an intellectual property attorney and is currently being revised before returning to production and manuscript preparation at Oxford University Press.)

The Bruderhof devised a concerted strategy to prevent the publication of this work. The defamation complaint filed against me constituted a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) that was intended to intimidate me, to prevent me from speaking and writing about the Bruderhof, and to frighten my publisher. Increasingly, costly and burdensome lawsuits have been filed against individuals and groups who speak out about public issues over real estate development, the environment, consumer issues, and new religious movements. In what has frequently become an abuse of the courts, corporations and religious groups use their economic power to sue their critics thereby transforming public debates about political and social issues into narrowly defined, "private" disputes over libel, slander, and defamation. In this manner, the debate is removed from the public sphere. Now private citizens and grass roots community organizations, without access to wealth and political influence, must defend themselves in expensive lawsuits, ever confronted with the threat that the court will award monetary damages. Even if the lawsuit is dropped or dismissed, the defendants frequently are "devastated, drop their political involvement, and swear never again to take part in American political life."[15] As George W. Pring and Penelope Canan argue: "Normally thought of as the protectors of constitutional and political rights, courts are being used, in SLAPPS, to transform public political disputes into private judicial disputes, to the unfair advantage of one side and the disadvantage of the other."[16]

In early August, a Bruderhof spokesperson called my Oxford editor, informing her of the defamation lawsuit against me and their belief that I had accused the community of committing criminal acts. Thus began a round of telephone calls and letters from the Bruderhof that have continued into 1998, urging my editor to reconsider the publication of OSJ. The Bruderhof also sent me copies of these letters so that I would aware of their tactics of intimidation. In December, 1997 a Bruderhof corporate president asked me to pressure Oxford to meet with their representatives.

In 1998, the editor had Oxford legal counsel instruct the Bruderhof to stop these "harassing" communications. The Bruderhof has repeatedly requested a meeting with Oxford to discuss these matters assuring the editor that once the facts were know about my work and the truth was presented about the Bruderhof, that Oxford would reconsider this book.

Strange, unsigned reviews of the yet-to-be published book appeared on Amazon.com on November 1st, when OSJ was originally scheduled to appear. One review read: "A Reader from Albany, N.Y. , 11/01/97, rating=3D1: I would rather read the Readers Digest then this book. Professor Julius Rubin should be ashamed about this s book. To me it is garbage because he writes about something he does not know anything about. To top it all of this comes under the name of [sic] Scholar ship. I pity all those students who study under him at St. Joseph's College in Hartford. I have read the manuscript and it was a complete waste of my time. They are being greatly deceived. Julius Rubin should give them all a refund for the tuition they have paid. A book to be ignored. "

In late November, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, (SPCK), a respected British publisher, mission society, and charity with a three-hundred-year history as a patron of the Queen in association with the Church of England, published my essay about the Bruderhof in an edited book, Harmful Religion. This book was sold only in the UK and Europe as SPCK did not have a North American distributor.

Harmful Religion presented the proceedings of a 1995 academic conference at King's College, London that involved Pentecostal, healing and deliverance ministries in Britain, the abuse of religious authority in new religious movements, and allied topics. Although I had not attended the conference, the academic editors, Lawrence Osborn of Cambridge University and Andrew Walker of King's College, commissioned my essay on the Bruderhof.

The book was advertised in the KIT newsletter in November and entered the SPCK bookshops in the UK in early December. (SPCK would sell the work directly to American customers by special order.) Several weeks later, I received an e-mail from Lawrence Osborn on December 18, 1997. He wrote that his co-editor "just had a visit from a nice man from the Bruderhof. He tells us that they have been advised to sue us over your paper, but, of course, they are too nice to want to do anything like that."

One month later, in frantic efforts to prevent a libel suit, SPCK had removed Harmful Religion from their shops and distributors and sold the entire first printing run to the English Bruderhof communities. These actions allowed the publisher to recoup their production costs, avoid a lawsuit, and make the disingenuous statement that the book was temporarily out-of-stock with no certain date set for the second edition printing. Through these strong-arm strategies, the Bruderhof successfully suppressed my writings and the publication of a critical essay about their sect. Threats of litigation and the tactic of buying out the print run allowed the sect to use their economic power to stifle academic freedom or freedom of the press when the writing was critical of their community.

Martin Wroe, a correspondent for The Observer in London broke the story in March 22, 1998, in "A Cult Best Seller. . . And Why You Can't Read It," He quoted one of the authors who stated that SPCK "decided the book was not worth going to court over. . . . It looks as though it will come back on the shelves without that chapter."

Osborn and Walker wrote a "statement of clarification" to the Bruderhof. A spokesperson for the English Bruderhof informed a senior official of the University of Oxford that SPCK had taken the book out of print because it contained my essay. (Oxford University Press is a division of the University.) This university official informed top officials at the Press who then contacted my editor in Oxford's New York office. The American Bruderhof spokesperson had sent her this information, adding to the pressure to drop the publication of OSJ.

On December 29, 1997, a Bruderhof leader again wrote to my editor at Oxford informing her that my essay in Harmful Religion was filled with false, inaccurate and misleading statements. He listed three pages of objectionable material. The letter further stated that when the Bruderhof appealed to SPCK, they quickly realized their mistake in printing my words. The Bruderhof did concede my First Amendment right to publish, but urged Oxford, in the interest of fairness and accuracy, to meet with the them and publish a balanced work.

Two weeks later, on January 13, 1998, Oxford received a follow-up letter from the Bruderhof with the SPCK statement of clarification, written by Osborn and Walker. They lauded the Bruderhof as an inspiring example of Christian witness to pacifism and religious community, embodying the highest ideals of faith and ethical practice. They explained that there is nothing inherently or intentionally abusive or wrong with the Bruderhof, that they are not a cult. They apologized for any negative inferences that might be drawn from my essay.

Appended to this letter was a statement by a clinical psychologist who stated that case studies taken from Bruderhof history have no relevance to the contemporary community. The Bruderhof letter concluded with another appeal to meet with Oxford and with an offer to provide additional letters from distinguished journalists, academics, editors, and Catholic theologians. Oxford received several letters from these friends of the Bruderhof who discredited my writing after having had read excerpts from my chapter in Harmful Religion. Each correspondent lauded the idealism of the Bruderhof communities and denounced my critical essay as erroneous, mean-spirited, and flawed social science.

During the spring of 1998, the Bruderhof sent my editor copies of critical reviews of my first Oxford book, Religious Melancholy and Protestant Experience in America as further evidence my problematic scholarship. The Bruderhof also contacted and shared their concerns with the General Editor of Oxford's "Religion in America Series," a distinguished professor at a major American research university.

The Bruderhof had formulated a concerted strategy of pressure to stifle my voice, first by suppressing the SPCK essay and then by using this small victory as a leverage to attempt to pressure Oxford to reconsider the manuscript. Finally, they commissioned letters from prominent friends who would discredit my work.

The Bruderhof attacked another critic and threatened legal sanctions to suppress public criticism. In June, 1997, Bill Peters, the husband of a Bruderhof apostate, created alt.support. Bruderhof, an Internet newsgroup. The newsgroup provides a free and uncensored forum that hosts threaded discussions to air complaints and ventilate anger about the commune. On June 16th, Bruderhof attorneys sent Peters a letter charging him with trademark infringement for using the term "Bruderhof," demanded that he remove the newsgroup from the Web, and threatened legal action should he fail to comply by a two-week deadline. (Newsgroups, once initiated, take on a life of their own and cannot be removed. Bruderhof threats could not change this curious fact of the Internet.)

News of this controversy and the threat against Peters spread on the NET. Frank Copeland, a critic of Scientology living in Australia, took up the conflict between the Bruderhof and their critics. Copeland posted a web page with the story of the news group conflict, information about KIT, and the story of Harmful Religion. He posted a web page with my out-of-print chapter that browsers could download.

Chris Stamper of The Netly News broke this story on July 7, 1997 in "The Great Bruderhof Newsgroup Fight." He interviewed me for this story and I explained: "They want to use legal remedies to stop criticism. . . . They don't want to see any critical statements made by anyone."[17]

In July, 1998, Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, the granddaughter of the Bruderhof's founder and author of the critical history, Torches Extinguished, presented a paper in Amsterdam at CENSUR, Center for the Study on New Religions. Before the session began, she was confronted by her brother Ben. She reports that he threatened to "expose me as a liar and traitor."[18] Shaken by this intimidation and reduced to tears, Bohlken-Zumpe did not want to deliver her paper in an atmosphere of intimidation. Yaacov Oved, author of Witness of the Brothers, an authorized history of the Bruderhof reassured her: "We are academic here, this is a University and we invited you. We did not invite Ben . . . . Just calm yourself and I will do the rest!"[19] Her paper was delivered without interference by her brother and sister-in-law.


During an extended conversation in 1995 with two corporate presidents who are part of the sect's core leadership, they repeatedly told me, "You are not listening." This phrase meant that I disagreed with their account of the facts, their interpretation of events, and the motives attributed to the actions of others. Inside the Bruderhof, when a leader tells a common brother "You are not listening," the brother must hurriedly change his belief, attitude, demeanor and behavior to comply. Inside the commune, leaders have the authority to interpret social reality and the power to make their interpretations stick. However, the enforcement of a single belief system and total unanimity of thought, belief and practice does not apply in mainstream society. The Bruderhof continually chafes at their loss of control over the interpretation of their movement by KIT and academics, and the freedom of public and academic discourse that openly questions orthodox accounts. KIT publications, the internet, academic conferences, and university presses can contest the once-unchallenged public relations promulgated by "the Bruderhof story."

The contested narrative of the Bruderhof and their critics is neither new nor unique. American religious innovation in the past two centuries has fostered the emergence of a seemingly unending diversity of sects and utopian experiments from the Second Great Awakening in the first decades of the nineteenth century until the counterculture of the 1960s. New religious movements, formed in response to ethical prophets who have proclaimed that they serve as the instrument of divine will or as the emissary of a transcendental other, have institutionalized their charismatic messages, actively proselytized, gathered new converts and issued challenges to the wider society. Not infrequently, public controversy, contested narratives, and litigation result. The charismatic origins of the Shakers and Mother Ann Lee, the Mormons and Joseph Smith, the Oneida Perfectionists and John Humphrey Noyes, and Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy, are four groups from a list that could include many lesser known sects. Each exemplifies the common theme of contested narratives, public controversy, and conflict between true believers and critical outsiders.

The case of Christian Science proves instructive. In 1907-1908, McClure's Magazine, known as a leader of muckraking journalism, accused the Mormon leadership of again embracing polygamy, and they published a critical biography of Mary Baker Eddy and history of Christian Science. Written by Georgine Milmine with considerable editorial assistance and co-authorship by Willa Cather, this expose largely discredited Eddy as the absolute head of the church. Harold S. Wilson writes:

"A parallel between authoritarian religious institutions and the trusts was quickly drawn in McClure's articles exposing the Mormons and the Christian Scientists. . . . Mrs. Eddy was touted as the 'priestess,' the 'old queen,' and the 'absolute ruler' of the church." [20]

The magazine series was reprinted as a book in 1909, although this work quickly disappeared and remained unavailable for sixty-two years until the publication of the second edition in 1971. Christian Scientists purchased all copies and kept the book on permanent loan from public libraries. [21] Here, a new religious movement devised strategies to silence the critical reporting of muckraking journalists.

Using similar tactics ninety years later, the Bruderhof has responded to critical accounts of their sect by demonizing these enemies of faith. From the sect's increasingly extremist position, they feel threatened, attacked by forces of evil, struggling for the very survival of their religion. Melvyn L. Fein argues in Hardball Without an Umpire, The Sociology of Morality, that religious sectarians, in defense of orthodoxy, can become extremist. Here morality is "systematically immoral. It is an unregulated contest in which skulls get cracked open. . . ." [22] Groups defend orthodoxy by recourse to legal and extralegal measures, violence and intimidation of their enemies who are portrayed as increasingly dehumanized monsters deserving of destruction. Conflicting groups are divided into a "good-guy/bad-guy" dichotomy. Fein explains:

"The good guys must prevail. Whatever it takes to win, they must not shrink from the effort. . . . As the only ones fit to make a decision, they must grind the bad guys into the dust. Were they to abdicate this duty, the depravity of the black hats would generate waves of pollution that might engulf society." [23]

The good guy/bad-guy syndrome of polarization and extremism can also apply to apostates who aggressively criticize and attack the Bruderhof, seeking to discredit them as a "cult." Jeffrey Kaplan argues in "Radical Religion in America," that the anti-cult movement and watchdog groups form as a dialectical opposition to the religious group; a highly motivated cadre of opponents dedicated to the task of 'exposing' the alleged dangers of the movement. The jury associated with court of public opinion may be a religious denomination, but it may as easily be the general public or the agencies of local, state, or federal government. Often, not content with merely publicizing the iniquities of the movement, these watchdog groups may organize to harass, intimidate, or even outlaw the target group. [24]

The Bruderhof, self-proclaimed as the good guy, denounce their critics as the demonic enemies of faith and adopt a complex legal, public relations, and extra-legal strategy to quiet their those who disagree with them . The courts become the tool to punish those who disagree by costly litigation and SLAPP suits intended to intimidate critics. Alternatively, KIT apostates, self-proclaimed as the good guy, denounce the Bruderhof as a "destructive cult" and attempt to discredit them in the court of public opinion. In the escalating conflict of dialectical opposition, the exercise of free speech and academic freedom is held hostage.



[1]. Sarah Lyall, Rushdie, Free of Threat, Revels in Spontaneity, New York Times, September, 1998, A7.

[2]. Learned Hand, "International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 501, v. NLRB,181 F.2nd 34 (2nd Cir. 1950), 40. Quoted from Frederick Schauer, The First Amendment as Ideology, in David S. Allen and Robert Jensen, Freeing the First Amendment, Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression, New York: New York University Press, 1995, 10-28.

[3]. Merrill Mow, Torches Rekindled, 9-11.

[4]. Nadine Moonje Pleil, Free From Bondage, 219ff.

[5]. See Francis X. Clines, "Thou Shalt Not Traffic in Demon Gossip," The New York Times, March 2, 1995. Joyce Holiday, "The Stuff of Life, A Visit to the Bruderhof," Sojourners, Vol. 13, No. 5, May, 1984. Connie Nash, "Bruderhof Women: A Testimony of Love," History Today, Vol. 44, No. 7, 1994.

[6]. See also W. Eaton and Robert J. Weil, Culture and Mental Disorders, A Comparative Study of Hutterites and Other Populations, Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1955. Bert Kaplan and Thomas F. A. Plautt, Personality in a Communal Society, An Analysis of the Mental Health of Hutterites, Lawrence Kansas: University of Kansas, 1956. John A. Hostetler, Hutterite Society,Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.

[7]. Yaacov Oved, Witness of the Brothers, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1996.

[8]. See Maurice Halbwachs, On Collected Memory for the discussion of the social and cultural dynamic of group collective memory and collective representations. See also Hobsbaum, The Invention of Tradition.

[9]. Ramon Sender Barayon, "The Evolution of the Peregrine Foundation," http://www. Perefound.org/phist.html

[10]. Ramon Sender, "The Peregrine Foundation Information Sheet."

[11].The KIT internet address is http://www.perefound.org/ The Bruderhof address is http://www.Bruderhof.com/

[12] . KIT, Vol VII, Number 7, July, 1995.

[13]. Blaise Schweitzer, "For Hutterians, There's a Storm Before the Calm," Kingston Daily Freeman, July 27, 1995.

[14]. James M. Wall, "Cults and Communities," The Christian Century, May 21-28, 1997, 500.

[15]. George W. Pring and Penelope Canan, SLAPPS, Getting Sued for Speaking Out, Philadelphia:Temple University Press, 1996, 29.

[16]. Ibid., 29.

[17]. Chris Stamper, "The Great Bruderhof Newsgroup Fight," The Netly News, July 7, 1997.(Http:www.cgi.pathfinder.com/netly/article/0,2334,12554,00.html)

[18]. Bette Bohlken-Zumpe, "Report on CENSUR," KIT, Vol X, No 8-9, August, 1998, 15.

[19]. Ibid, 15.

[20]. Harold S. Wilson, "McClure's Magazine and the Muckrakers," 303.

[21]. See Steward Hudson, Preface to the Second Edition of The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1971, xv. I am endebted to Cynthia A. Read, Executive Editor, Oxford University Press for bringing this example to my attention.

[22]. Melvyn L. Fein, Hardball Without an Umpire: The Sociology of Morality, London: Praeger, 1997, 150.

[23]. Ibid., 152.

[24]. Jeffrey Kaplan, Radical Religion in America, Millennial Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1997, 127.

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What is a Cult Melissa Moskowitz

The dictionary gives one generalized definition of "cult" as "a small circle of persons united by devotion or allegiance to an artistic or intellectual movement or figure." Not all cults are religious in nature, but similarities do exist between most religious and non-religious cults. Cults prey upon an individual's need to identify, and be identified with, a strong belief and with others of like conviction. Cults rob individuals of the ability to make moral and social decisions that govern their lives. Cults rob followers of their individuality by making them conform to the identity of the group.

Under discussion here is one of the more specific dictionary definitions of "cult" as "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also its body of adherents." In this vein we do not find the term "cult" in Scripture, but it is generally implied under the headings of false teachers, false teachings, false prophets and false prophecies that lead a person away from the truth of God and into bondage.

Some Marks of Pseudo-Christian Cults

The group presents the Bible as being unknowable except through their authoritative interpretation. Although they claim otherwise, such cults actually lead people away from Christ. The group makes commitment to Christ synonymous with allegiance to the group and its leader. The group becomes a substitute for conscience and for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Right and wrong are judged according to the cult's teachings rather than Scripture. The group often demands unquestioning allegiance and obedience to the cult leader, who is usually an authoritarian figure. The cult leader may proclaim that no one can properly understand the meaning of Scripture except through his authoritative teaching. Cult leaders' lifestyles are often different from that of their followers, and they seem exempt from the moral and ethical expectations that bind the others. Cult leaders often allow themselves privileges and luxuries that their followers are denied. The group leads its followers to view those outside the cult as potential enemies or as being less "enlightened." Followers are often required to live in a community that functions for the benefit of the cult and is cut off from society. The group requires its members to give and work only to promote the cult, rather than to proclaim the gospel. The group instills guilt in its members by declaring that anything less than 100% commitment is unacceptable, and that less committed members are unworthy and unfruitful. This becomes their basis of values and self-esteem. The group asks its members to make unreasonable sacrifices, such as giving up children, money or possessions in the name of commitment and growth. The members do not view these sacrifices as being unreasonable because the cult dictates a new standard of behavior and social norms. The group offers its members a sense of family and belonging and provides a ready-made set of friends. The individual has a sense of peace and personal well-being as long as he or she can conform. Followers often must denounce and avoid their families in order to be considered members in good standing. Members are usually discouraged from staying informed about world events because the leader wants to be the interpreter of reality and does not want members to be distracted.

Copyright © 1993 by Jews for Jesus. Used by permission. This article may not be reproduced without the written permission of Jews for Jesus.



Various Points of View on the Bruderhof:

For a wide-ranging series of links regarding various Bruderhof-related concerns, see:

The Bruderhof(c) Information Page . You can also leave a feedback message here at the Bruderhof(c) message site or read others' feedback.

For a Christian couple's reasons for leaving the Bruderhof, see:

The Bruderhof Communities: Some Personal Experiences

For Bruderhof-born-and-bred Mike LeBlanc's website, see:


For the Bruderhof communities' own website, see:

The Bruderhof Communities

Links To Cult Awareness Groups

American Family Foundation

Steve Hassan's Home Page (Author of Combatting Cult Mind Control)

The Ex-Cult Archive


Syzygy: Journal of Alternative Religion and Cultures

Yeakley's The Discipling Dilemma

Cult Awareness & Information Centre - Australia

Links To Campus Cult Awareness groups



Links to groups mentioned in The New York Times article

"Fringe Religious Groups Plant Temples on the Web" (May 8, 1997)


Raelian Mother Site

The Aetherius Society

Unarius Academy of Sciences



What is a Cult?

The Definition

What is a cult? A cult, as defined by Webster's, is:

"1. formal religious veneration; 2. a religious system; also its adherents; 3. faddish devotion; also a group of persons showing such devotion."

Others define it thus:

"Cult (totalist type): a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing, and employing unethical, manipulative or coercive techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, suspension of individuality and critical judgment, etc.), designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders, to the possible or actual detriment of members, their families, or the community." (DJ West, 1989)


"I classify cults into nine different types:

"-- those based on neo-Christianity ideas; -- those based on Hindu and Eastern concepts; -- those based on the occult involving witchcraft and Satanism; -- those based on spiritualism; -- those based on Zen and other sino-Japanese practices; -- those based on race; -- those involving flying saucer and other outer space phenomena; -- those involving psychology; and -- political cults.

[Gee, there's no cult-ural bias here!]

"When do cults arise? Throughout history, whenever there has been a breakdown in the structure of the society, an uprise in cults has occurred. For example, after the French Revolution, there was a tremendous upsurge of cults in France and in Europe; when the Industrial Revolution came to England, many cults arose. In the United States the westward frontier expansion and the growth of cults occurred together.

"What is a cult? It is a group led by a living, self-proclaimed leader who claims that he or she has been told by a higher power to lead such a group. Secondly, cults have a double set of ethics, that is, one set of rules for use in the cult, and another for use with non-members. Thirdly, cults raise funds for their own use and not for altruistic purposes." (NAPP Journal, vol. 9/no. 4, "Socio and Religious Cults: Religion or Brainwashing?")

Let us now use the various criteria presented above to evaluate some groups not usually thought of as "cults" by all people.

Catholic Church IRS CIA

Formal religious veneration Yes Yes Yes A religious system Yes Yes Yes Faddish devotion Yes Yes Yes A group of persons showing such devotion Yes Yes Yes A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing Yes Yes Yes Employing unethical, manipulative or coercive techniques of persuasion and control Yes Yes Yes Isolation from former friends and family Yes Yes Yes Debilitation Yes Yes Yes Use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience Yes Yes Yes Powerful group pressures Yes Yes Yes Information management Yes Yes Yes Promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it Yes Yes Yes Suspension of individuality and critical judgment Yes Yes Yes Designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders, to the possible or actual detriment of members, their families, or the community Yes Yes Yes

Governmental Bodies Guilty of "Religious Veneration?"

But some will cry, "How can you say the IRS and CIA are formal religious veneration?" Webster's defines "religious" as "relating or devoted to the divine or that which is held to be of ultimate importance." Keep in mind that many people find money to be of ultimate importance and the acquisition of it to be a divine pursuit. All secular and "sacred" organizations are extremely obsessed with raising loads of capital - no matter what it takes. They are all members of the money cult.

"To venerate" is defined as "to regard with reverential respect." Certainly by any standards or applications there are many within these systems who are zealots for the party line. So it has always been throughout history. These organizations are cliques, sects and, yes, cults. In order for these groups to function, there must a binding factor and a perceived enemy. We know how the CIA works. It is a sophisticated brainwashing computer that blithely contributes to civil unrest and degradation globally. The IRS religiously persecutes all in its path, strong and weak alike, and reduces us to robotoid status under its everwatching and ready-to-strike eyes. Each group has its particular mass psyche, its shared goals and beliefs. Each holds said vision as ultimate importance and regards the mission and members with reverential respect.

The Catholic Church is More of a Cult than the Moonies

That the Catholic Church is a formal religious veneration goes without saying. It is about as formal as can be. It is certainly a faddish devotion when one considers that it has only occupied a fraction of human history and is based on one of thousands of godmen/hero myths found globally. Without a doubt the Church is guilty of excessive devotion to a person, idea or thing. It is guilty of all three of these "cult" criteria. The minds of Catholics are constantly obsessed with the "Lord and Savior" and "God the Father," among other noxious "religious" ideas and things. To a Catholic, all revolves around the "Lord's plan," or some such. Everything is perceived from this dei-centric platform. In fact, throughout Catholicism's sordid and shameful past, those who did not share this perception have been hideously scourged, tortured, burned at the stake, massacred, robbed and made victims of other unlovely deeds perpetrated against them by the "good Christians." The obsession with the "Kingdom of Heaven" and the "Kingdom of the Lord" led to the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, during the zealot crusades.

Mainstream Groups Use Cultlike Brainwashing Techniques

The IRS and CIA are also single-focused in their pursuits, so much so that they break laws continuously, both nationally and internationally. This lawbreaking has led to the harassment and death of thousands as well. The IRS has been known to use mind control techniques to produce illness in people it perceives owe it money. Its agents are relentless and uncaring, as if of some other species. They care not a fig about hardship, but go after the "little people" who are barely scraping it together. They have no laws but are above the law. The CIA's escapades internationally are infamous. Their espionage and mental harassment techniques are state of the art, and they too capitulate to almost nothing. Their "missions" are of the highest importance, and they are excessively devoted to them.

The techniques of coercion used by any of these groups are also well-known. While the IRS and CIA are slightly more surreptitious than the Catholics, the Church flagrantly has used physical and psychological torture to persuade "heathens" and other "sinners" to repent or convert. In fact, priests have been known to quip "Give me a child before the age of seven and he's mine for life." All so-called religions have "brainwashing" techniques as part of the curriculum. The very doctrines of Catholicism are coercive: Obey, and you will be rewarded; disobey, and you will be punished. You are offered greed for heaven or fear of hell.

Likewise, the IRS uses high-stress techniques by way of threats to one's livelihood and sometimes one's life. The stress associated with finance and the pressures put on by IRS hassles are very great indeed. There is virtually no one over the age of 22 who is free from these pressures, not even the rich. These are some of the highest stresses in the world, and there have been cases reported of people who have been harassed by the IRS going insane, committing suicide or being killed in combats with IRS. This has included rumors of the use of mind control weapons such as those reportedly used by the CIA.

The CIA uses its coercive techniques in a more subtle and hidden manner, although its various operations also reveal the propensity for physical and psychological torture as well. It has been known to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to sinister operations in countries in which it has worked, and it has been linked many times over the last 40 years to illicit drug and weapons deals. The CIA has been rumored to have used such things as electromagnetic waves and drugs to alter or "brain-dirty" subjects.

Isolate and Conquer

How the Catholic Church isolates people from their families is obvious when one looks at their principal places of religious training - the monasteries and nunneries. These institutions require a general or more strict renunciation of all that is outside the walls of the compound and a surrender to constant contemplation on the nebulous father-figure in the sky and his son. Depending on the location, the isolation may be total and for many years. The difference between this and other "cults" is that when the disgruntled or demented members of the other cults escape and reveal the inner workings, we are shocked, but the mentally ill who have not benefited but may have actually become depraved from the so-called religious sanctuary of the monastery are seldom allowed to reach the media. The Church has been immensely capable of downplaying or denying the many charges of child molestation and rape by multitudes of our "good fathers." If the "population, family and friends" that a person is separated from are not of the same cult as Catholicism, the isolation may be for a very long time. This happens in every family where an offspring may decide to change his or her religion from what is perceived by the family as "the real one," which means their own. Christianity also has as one of its tenets laid down by its supposed founder that you must "hate your mother and father" to follow its leader. Indeed, "Jesus" calls for renunciation of the family.

In preaching the party line, the IRS and CIA all require their members to appear for many hours a day away from their families, at the office, out on assignment. IRS agents must be one of the most isolated groups around. How many friends could they possibly have? And what kind of stress are they under, to constantly be compelled to believe that most of the world are deadbeats who need correction by their organization? This last criterion is one shared by all the cults we are dealing with herein.

The debilitation of all of these groups happens not only to their members but also to the "outside" people the group affects. The debilitation of Church members lies in the "born-in-sin" ideology of the Church and the separation of the divine from the human consciousness. In believing that they are lesser beings, Catholics are set up as victims of existence, which is dictated by the caprice of their often wrathful god.

"Cult" is Often Simply Name-Calling

The "nine different types" of cults as proposed by the writer of the NAPP Journal article are obviously culturally biased criteria. The author is, no doubt, a member of a widely accepted cult such as Christianity or Judaism. The fact that the "nine types" have been on this planet in one form or another for as long or much longer than the relatively recently created Christianity is lost on the bigoted followers of said "religions." Said author seems totally unaware that his or her own cult itself was created during a "break down in the structure of society." By that author's definition of a cult as a "group led by a living self-proclaimed leader who claims that he or she has been told by a higher power to lead such a group," early Christians must definitely be considered a cult. Therefore, by this definition, a cult becomes a religion after its founder is dead. Hence, all religions with founders begin as cults.

Rome Fiddles While the World Burns

The second and third definitions presented by this same author, to wit, "Secondly, cults have a double set of ethics, that is, one set of rules for use in the cult, and another for use with non-members. Thirdly, cults raise funds for their own use and not for altruistic purposes," could easily be applied to any Christian or Jewish organization, especially to the Catholic Church, which exploited, raped, enslaved and impoverished half the world and then handed out token "charity." How much pilfered wealth does the Vatican contain, while people around the globe starve?

Cult is also defined as, "A religious sect generally construed to be extremist or bogus." In the case of the three cults studied above, this is certainly the case. For centuries there have been very vocal detractors of the Catholic Church, including those who have regularly claimed the pope to be the Antichrist.

Using the criteria presented in this treatise, we can categorize any group of individuals with shared ideology as a cult, and that includes all religions and organizations known to mankind. Let's keep that in mind next time someone starts shouting, "Cult! Cult!" He or she is probably a cult unto him or herself.

© 1998 Acharya S (acharya_s@yahoo.com)

Back to Home | Egotists on Earth

No God, no Master. Margaret Sanger Religion is the opium of the masses. Marx Religion is not merely the opium of the masses, it's the cyanide. Tom Robbins Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery. Robert Ingersoll Religion is all bunk. Thomas Edison Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. Blaise Pascal How many evils have flowed from religion! Lucretius Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. John Lennon


The Moonies Who they Are - How they Work

The Moonies are a dangerous brainwashing cult. They control the Washington Times, Christian Colaition, and the Republican Party. They are behind the Right Wing Media Conspiracy to get rid of Clinton. What you are about to read will shock and amaze you. I swiped this page to give it more exposure. I have a hight trafic site and I know how to keyword index this.

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright FreeAmerica and Harry V. Martin, 1995

The buses would come in at night, filled with young people. Their destination was the Moonie facility Upvalley. Were these people "volunteers" or held against their will? According to neighbors in the area, a few males would knock on their door late at night and ask how they could "escape" from the area. Under most circumstances, the young people who live there walk outside the compounds with another person, they are seldom alone.

In the mid-70s, then Napa Sheriff Earl Randol had some major clashes with the Moonies in an attempt to gain the "release" of one young man.

The Aetna Springs facility of the Moonies receives a $406,836 local tax exemption on their property, because they qualify as a religious organization. You won't find a sign saying "Moonies", the facility is registered as the New Education Development Systems, Inc., of 1600 Aetna Springs Road, in Pope Valley. There are six parcels of land owned by the New Education Development Systems, Inc. equalling 672.47 acres, which they pay only $5507.52 tax annually. At one point in 1977, the Board of Equalization denied any tax break for the New Educational Development Systems, Inc.

The Moonies first came to prominence in Napa County in October 1976 when Charles Lotz arrived here from Arizona with his two attorneys, Wayne Howard and Michael Trauscht. Lotz suspected that his son, Steven, was living as a Moonie on the Aetna Springs Resort. With Napa Attorney John Dower, the group appeared before Superior Court Judge Thomas Kongsgaard for the purpose of having Lotz appointed temporary conservator of his son, this essentially gave him the legal right to forcibly control the actions of his son who is declared temporarily incompetent.

With the appropriate legal documents secured, the group went to Aetna Springs accompanied by Sheriff Earl Randol and Lt. James Munk. Randol knew the removal of one of the members from the Moonie camp was likely to incite hostility. The Sheriff did run into resistance. The group was hassled by Moonies. The son was located at the camp but did not want to leave. At this point the keys to the car owned by one of the attorneys were thrown into a field and then another Moonie got under the car to prevent it from driving off. The son was forcibly removed from the Moonie camp.

Sheriff Randol stated publicly that the Moonie defiance of the Lotz court order confirmed his initial suspicions about the New Education Development Systems, Inc., whose "avowed purposes...is to open Aetna Springs as a regional training facility for the Moon movement." Randol said that he seriously doubted that members of the New Education Development Systems, Inc., wanted "to become responsible citizens of this community. Responsible citizens of this community don't forcibly disobey orders of Superior Court...and don't attempt to keep people from enforcing those orders. They don't attempt to follow and harass people, either. Any credibility these people attempted to establish in Napa County should be seriously questioned as a result of this action. They've been misleading the people of Napa County when they said there's no connection to the Unification Church and Reverend Moon." The Moonies also made efforts to infiltrate Pacific Union College.

After the incident with Sheriff Randol, Rev. Sun Myung Moon filed suit in Federal District Court to halt California courts from issuing temporary conservatorship orders without a court hearing in which both the conservator and alleged conservatee are present. The suit was filed only days after the Napa incident.

Moonies from the Pope Valley area were arrested in Tucson, Arizona, for interfering with court-ordered deprogramming of two young Moonies. In another local incident, a woman in the Moonie community was injured and the leaders of the camp refused to allow her to be transported to a hospital.

One neighbor, who has had "recruits" knock on her door, states, "They were trying to leave the compound, and would ask me 'which way do you get out of here?' The Moonies have no idea how to leave the place, whether to turn left or to turn right, or what." Several Moonies do get into the community, however, without restraint. There is one woman who is a part time teacher in the St. Helena-Pope Valley area. Some sell roses along the roads and go door-to-door selling other items.

The flower sellers used to be easily identified with a yellow signs with red writing. But now they have changed their colors, as words got about linking the yellow and red signs, the color of the Japanese Rising Sun.

When the Moonies attempted to open their camp at Aetna Springs, the Napa County Board of Supervisors opposed it. A lawsuit ensued, and the Moonies prevailed. The Supervisors rejected the New Education Development Systems, Inc., request in March 1979. The suit was filed on September 1979. Attorneys for the New Education Development Systems, Inc. claimed that the County's denial of a use permit constituted discrimination on the basis of religion and denial of due process and equal protection under the law. The suit cost the County nearly $1 million to fight Rev. Sun Myung Moon's attempt to establish a camp at Aetna Springs. The battle lasted nearly eight years. The suit was finally settled in 1986 with an out-of-court settlement. The property can be used for religious, but not educational purposes, the settlement states.

The Moonies also own Aetna Springs Golf Course and will have a Planning Commission hearing on March 18 at 9 a.m. on their proposed recreational fee fishing facility on a 55 acre parcel located on the north side of the Aetna Springs Road where the golf course exists. There is also a riding club in the encampment. Local deputy sheriffs who patrol the area are wary of the encampment, fearing it may even be fortified.

Who are the Moonies? What is their political background? Who are their leaders? What ties do they have to the U.S. government? What ties do they have to known Japanese war criminals?

MOONIES: how they recruit the young people

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1992

Second in a Series

Friday, March 6, 1992

What has sparked so much controversy about the Moonie movement is the allegations that their followers are brainwashed. The movement is reported to pray on the discontent, anger and disenfranchisement of the young, transforming their youthful concepts and values into the dogma of Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Gift of Deceit, written by Robert Boettcher, states: "The American System is ill-equipped to deal with Moon. He knows this and benefits from it. He can break some laws and use others for protection. By perverting freedom of religion, he can keep thousands of people in brainwashed captivity while he intimidates and manipulates the non-Moon world." The book further states, "The United States government believed brainwashing was real enough in the Korean War. Apparently that was different because Communists were doing it to American soldiers. When Moon does it in the name of God he gets away with it."

In 1974, Rev. Moon stated, "I truly disciplined and set the traditions of our movement in Korea, so that they (Moon's followers) were completely liberated from the fear of how to live, what to eat, and how to sleep." Why do people voluntarily surrender control of their life to Moon's Unification Church?

Moon's followers are generally people in their twenties, they are free of legal parental restraints and therefore less easily wooed out of the Moon organization. Young, clean-cut youths, will recruit others on college campuses or in shopping centers. They will insist that they are offering a new way of life and not a religious experience. They invite young people to their centers, such as the one in Pope Valley. The concept of love and fraternity are strongly pushed.

Generally, the recruit meets organizational officials over a quiet dinner. Moon is not mentioned, religion is seldom broached. While you eat, you listen to their lectures and prayers and share in their singing, the recruiters constantly smile throughout the encounter. The youth is asked to attend a three-day workshop. Some do last longer, seven, 21, 40 or 120 days. But generally the first encounter is only three days. The workshops are held in churches, on estates, camps or rural retreat, or a training center. The short workshops work on getting you committed, the longer ones are to groom leaders.

The first recognition individuals have when arriving for the three day workshops, is that the followers of Moon regard each other as a family. The recruit is called a spiritual child and the people who recruit the youth are referred to as the recruit's spiritual parents.

The recruit is not left alone. As the neighbors of the Moonie encampment in Pope Valley have attested to, they walk in pairs. J. Isamu Yamamoto states in his book The Puppet Master, It becomes immediately apparent to you that you are not to be left alone and that all 'spiritual children' have someone of their opposite sex from the family assigned to them. If you should wander off by yourself, someone will follow you and politely ask you to rejoin the group. You are even escorted to the rest room." The book continues, "You also learn that there is a rigidly held schedule. There are specific times for eating, exercising, playing, singing, listening to lectures and discussing them. You are separated into small groups, led by a team leader who has to have perfect control, not approximate control. From the beginning, the leader directs his or her group like a kindergarten teacher, telling you when to do this or that."

If the leaders of the group should slacken in their enthusiasm or diligence, they are sternly reprimanded. The recruit is rarely permitted to engage in any casual conversation with anyone. They are only allowed to speak about spiritual things within a structured framework. Creativity is frowned upon, conformity is stressed. "All day you are bombarded by ideas and concepts," states The Puppet Master. "There is little relaxation, and so your resistance is low. When you refrain from sharing or resist in any way, you are met with benevolent concern. Peer approval is an important technique which subtly tells you to conform. The family members aim directly at your most vulnerable points: the need to belong, to feel useful and to feel love. Throughout the workshop you are flooded with affection, hugs, pats, hand-holding and smiles."

Recruits react to the regimental control by trying to please. "But, you quickly learn that the only way to please is to conform," The Puppet Master states. "You succumb many times to small acts of conformity without realizing it. You feel guilty when you hold back, and you are told that wanting to be alone is a symptom of fear and alienation." It is at this point that the recruit is asked to join the movement. The family member who has spent all the time with the specific recruit will beg and plead for the recruit to stay. "There will even be tears along with promises. They will continue to implore until you decide to join," The Puppet Master states.

After joining the Moonies, the recruit will be given about two weeks of adjustment. They call it "losing", a period when the recruit's desires become nothing. Recruits are allowed to return home for one visit, but they must be accompanied or tailed by a Moonie. After that one visit, the recruit's communication with his natural family is reduced to mainly correspondence, and that diminishes rapidly. The Moonies see to it that being with the recruit's natural parents makes the recruit so vulnerable and so unable to cope with the real world that you are compelled to stay with the Moonies. "When you do step out into the world, it is a shock, a cultural shock," states The Puppet Master. "You are taught that everyone not in the movement is under the influence of Satan and that you should mistrust them. They insist that the devil works strongest through those closest to you to destroy your faith. This naturally offsets the concern of parents and friends, most of whom want you to You are told that their motivation is love, but because love in the world is fallen, they cannot understand that their motivation is evil. If someone talks to you from outside the family, no doubt they are trying to take your mind away. You begin to fear the world and those in it. Thus you become dependent on the group for love and positive reinforcement. After alienation is complete, you are told that you can leave if you want."

After the "losing period" the regimentation becomes even more rigid. The recruit is required to adhere to even more demanding workshop schedules. They sleep five or six hours a day. Their diet consists of starchy foods and low proteins. Often they fast for many days. The recruit must now fundraise and recruit others. The recruit must sing and pray before meals, before classes, before work, before evening gatherings. Most songs are traditional or Korean hymns. Alcohol and drs are forbidden. The recruits are further told that if their body reacts negatively with illness or fatigue, it is a sign of Satan invading their body. If they begin to work less, they are told they are selfish and not growing close to God. If they object to the rules, they are told it is Satan working through them against God.

MOONIES: what Rev. Moon teaches the young

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1992

Third in a Series Tuesday, March 13, 1992

To best understand the Moonies, one must look at their doctrine. The Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon warns Christians that they will be swept away. In his Divine Principle, the foundation of his teachings, Rev. Moon claims that Christians today will be like the priests and rabbis of Jesus' day, the "first to persecute the Messiah". He says that Christians will cling to their archaic beliefs and will be blind to the truths of the new age. "Innumerable Christians of today are dashing on the way which they think will lead them to the Kingdom of Heaven. Nevertheless, the road is apt to lead them into hell." He says, Christians must accept the revelations within the Divine Principle and the Lord of the Second Advent or be damned.

Moon leaves no room in his philosophy for doubt about where he and Korea stand in the eyes of God. Moon claims he is the new Messiah and Korea is God's chosen nation. "This is the culmination of God's 6000 year quest to restore man from the fall of Adam." Moon tells his followers and captives that God revealed this to him when he was a young man. He states, "God said, 'You are the son I have been seeking, the one who can begin my eternal history'."

Moon's Divine Principles teaches that man can be restored to original goodness by restoring Adam, Eve, and three archangels. "Adam's fall resulted from Eve's being seduced by the archangel Lucifer, who was jealous because God gave Eve to Adam instead of to him." He claims that Adam, Eve and the archangels are occupied by persons, nations and movements identified by Moon. "Ultimately, Adam must dominate after successfully going through three stages: formation, growth, and perfection. If Eve or an archangel is at a higher stage than Adam, they must help restore Adam to perfection so he can assume his rightful role in the unified system of things.

Moon sees himself as the Perfect Adam, so he must be obeyed without question. He claims that Jesus was the most important Adam between the original one and Moon, attaining spiritual perfection but a "flawed" Messiah. Moon is the reincarnation of Jesus only more perfect.

Moon teaches his followers and captives that Jesus' mission was foredoomed by John the Baptist, who spent his time baptizing people instead of becoming Jesus' obedient disciple for influencing the politics of the Herod regime, and even killing the enemies of Christ. Though Christian beliefs portrays the Virgin birth. Moon teaches that Jesus was a child of adultery, not immaculate conception. "Mary was impregnated by Zachariah (John the Baptist's father). Jesus had an unhappy home life because Joseph was jealous of Zachariah and resented Jesus."

Moon also states, "When Jesus grew up he failed as a leader because he was unable to love his disciples enough to motivate them to kill for him or die in his place." Moon says that his love is not weak, like he portrays Jesus. "Since Jesus was incapable of perfect love, owing to his unwholesome upbringing, he was also unable to marry as intended by God," Moon said. "The reason why Jesus died was because he couldn't have a bride. Because there was no preparation of a bride to receive Jesus, that was the cause of his death."

Moon sees Christian churches as furthering Satan's power. "Israel was God's chosen nation, but the Jews, falling prey to Satan's power, rejected Jesus. God punished them with centuries of suffering, and finally cleansed them by killing six million in World War II. But the Jews had missed their chance. God had to find a new Messiah and a new Adam nation because it is God's principle not to use the same people and the same territory twice," Moon teaches. "Korea was ideally suited for several reasons. It is a peninsula, physically resembling the male sex organ. Like the Italian peninsula, cultures of islands and continents can mingle there to form a unified civilization corresponding to the Roman Empire."

Moon says that Japan is in the position of Eve. "Being only an island country, it cannot be Adam. It yearns for male-like peninsular Korea on the mainland." Moon says the Japanese generally are effeminate people who want to be dominated by stronger, manly powers. "But as Eve prevailed over Adam in the Fall, Japan prevailed over Korea in the colonial period. And like Eve in the Fall, Japan became a Satanic power."

The United States is viewed by Moon as an archangel country. "The archangel America helped the Adam country Korea by sending Christian missionaries, rescuing it from Japanese rule, and stopping the advance of Satan's Adam, Communist North Korea. America is too arrogant and individualistic, however. It cannot remain the world's leader, because God has destined America to serve Korea," Moon teaches. Moon states that the battlefield for the showdown between God and Satan would be Korea. "God's chosen people would triumph through suffering. America, Japan, and all other nations could be restored by helping Korea's anti-Communist cause. Only in Korea could the civilizations of East and West be unified. In the end, even North Korea's Kim Il Sung could be restored if he answered the call to follow the Divine Principle.

Moon was born in North Korea in 1920. He was raised by a Presbyterian in a middle-class family, was a good student, and studied engineering at a university in Japan during World War II. He was married in 1944 and divorced in 1950. He was arrested twice by the Communist government in North Korea for activities as an evangelist and was sentenced to five years in prison in the fall of 1947. He was released by U.S. forces during the Korean War. He founded his church in 1954.

Moon was reported to be a ritual womanizer. Reportedly, young girls underwent sexual initiation into his cult; he would thus purge them of the Satanic spirits that inhabited Eve and lead them to the Divine Principle. He was jailed for three months in 1955 by South Korean authorities on charges of draft evasion, forgery, pseudo-religion and false imprisonment of a university coed compelled to adopt his religion. The charges were dropped.

Moon teaches that lying is necessary when one is doing God's work, whether selling flowers in the street or testifying under oath. "The truth is what the Son of God says it is. At the Garden of Eden, evil triumphed by deceiving goodness. To restore original perfection, goodness must now deceive evil. Even God lies very often."

(Continued Tuesday)

MOONIES: seeking to influence the media

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1992

Fourth in a Series

Tuesday, March 17, 1992

Rev. Sun Myung Moon may preach that he is the Adam and the Christ reincarnate, but he has been accused in a 447 page Congressional report with bribery, bank fraud, illegal kickbacks and illegal sale of arms. He was also accused of attempting to secretly build nuclear weapons for Korea. A Congressional report also indicated that Rev. Moon's Unification Church was founded by a director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Chong Pil, as a political tool in 1961.

The House report states, "Kim Chong Pil organized the Unification Church while he was director of the ROK (Republic of Korea) Central Intelligence Agency, and has been using the church, which has a membership of 27,000, as a political tool." Kim was among the inner core of Army officers who led the coup that brought President Park Chung Hee to power in 1961. "Members of the church are actively engaged in increasing membership in farming villages. The church apparently has considerable money, because it pays influential people in the villages a substantial sum for joining the church." The Moon organization denies any ties with the Korean government or intelligence community.

In 1977 Congressman Donald Frazer launched an investigation into Moon's background. The House Committee report states that it uncovered evidence that the Moon organization had systematically violated U.S. tax, immigration, banking, currency and foreign agent registration laws. The report indicates that Moon was paid by the Korean CIA to stage demonstrations at the United Nations and run pro-South Korean propaganda efforts. The investigator for the report commented, "We determined that their primary interest, at least in the U.S. at that time, was not religious at all, but was political, it was an attempt to gain power, influence and authority." But after the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan all investigations were halted. Moon was Vice President George Bush's guest at the inauguration and was a major financial contributor to the Washington conservative establishment.

Moon's most expensive political project was the creation of the Washington Times. "Washington is the most important single city in the world. If you can achieve influence, if you can achieve visibility, if you can achieve a measure of respect in Washington, then you fairly automatically are going to achieve these things in the rest of the world. There is no better agency or instrument that I know of for achieving power here or almost anywhere else than a newspaper." These were the words of Rev. Moon. President Bush admits the first thing he does in the morning is to read the Washington Times. Ironically, Napa Sentinel Publisher Harry V. Martin received an offer to become editor of a New York newspaper, News World, which was to commence publishing on December 31, 1976. It was the forerunner of the Washington Times. Martin was promised that if he took over the editorship of the New York paper he would be named editor of the Washington Times. After a thorough investigation of i ership and upon learning Rev. Moon was in charge, Martin declined the job.

The newspaper policy was subtle, in which editors were to use key words to emphasize political messages. Specific organizations were targeted. The Washington Times gained access to American television. The newspaper fostered the likes of Pat Buchanan, Bill Rusher and Mona Sharon, who suddenly became TV personalities, but were little known before the Times. When Martin declined the assignment, James Whalen accepted it, but he soon became disillusioned. "When we started the paper, there was never any question that it would, in any fashion, project the views or the agenda of Moon or the Unification Church. All to the contrary. We said, look, we're going to put a high wall in place It's going to be a sturdy wall, and it will divide us from you," Whalen said. But Whalen's wall of editorial independence was often breached. "Moon, himself, gave direct instructions to the editors, of who Ð in fact, called the shots. Ultimately, Moon calls all the shots. The Washington Times has be c Moonie newspaper," Whalen said.

The Washington Times is quoted virtually every hour on the hour by Voice of America and on the BBC. When Whalen resigned, Arneau de Borgrave took over. He maintains that the editorial department has complete freedom. But no way, says William Chester. "I protested to Mr. de Borgrave and I was honest when I saw this happening, telling him that this was unethical, improper, unprofessional, and ought to stop. And I also said it was dumb." Chester and four other editors resigned after de Borgrave ordered an about-face on an editorial critical of the South Korean government. The U.S. Justice Department won't investigate complaints that the Washington Times may be in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The Times provided editorial and financial support to the Contras. When Col. Oliver North wrote a top secret memo proposing the formation of a private foundation called the Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, the Washington Times announced the formation of the foundation on their front page. The Times contributed $100,000 to the cause.

Moon also founded the World Media Association, which pays journalists for junkets all over the world. He told a television show, "There is a total war, basically a war of ideas, war of minds, the battlefield of the human mind. This (the media) is where the battle is fought. So, in this war, all weapons will be mobilized, political means, social means, economic means and propagandist means, and basically trying to take over the person's mind. That is what the Third World War is all about, the war of ideology."

Moon has supplied materials for the rally in support of the Persian Gulf War, slick voter score cards, 30 million pieces of political literature. He sponsors the American Freedom Coalition, which may be in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The Act states that any organization involved in political activities, controlled or directed by a foreign principle must register with the U.S. Department of Justice. One third of the Coalition's money came from the Unification Church.

A federal investigation into Moon's finances led to a 1982 trial on charges of conspiracy and filing false tax returns. Moon was sent to the federal correctional institution in Danbury, Connecticut. He remained there for 13 months.

Moon has sought to influence the American political agenda by pouring more than a billion dollars into the media. Moon looks upon the media as almost the nervous system for a global empire. After his imprisonment he began a media blitz called The New Birth Project. It's strategy was to show that Moon's prosecution was really racial and religious persecution.

Moon's organization told Martin in 1976 that they would establish a newspaper in New York, then Washington and finally one in San Francisco. The San Francisco publication has not been produced to date.

(To be continued.)

MOONIES: who is behind the movement

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1992

Fifth in a Series

Tuesday, March 24, 1992

The Moon organization has spent an alarming amount of money in the United States in an effort to influence the government. More than $800 million has been spent on the Washington Times, alone. Hundreds of millions more have been spent on the periodicals Insight and World and I. Tens of millions have been spent on the electronic media, and at least $40 million on New York newspapers.

Moon's New York publishing house, Paragon Press, has been the recipient of $10 million. Millions more were spent on the world media associations and conferences, the new right organizations, including the American Freedom Coalition. Moon has purchased millions of dollars in real estate, including the New York Hotel ($100 million), the New Birth Project ($75 million), and commercial fishing ventures ($40 million). Moon recently spent billions of dollars building an automobile plant in China.

But these billions of dollars in investments are not earning sufficient revenue, all of Moon's business ventures are losing money. One of the biggest business losers for the Unification Church is the influential Washington Times. The newspaper is losing as much as $50 million a year. Moon has testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee that his money comes from overseas, but ths could not mean Korea, because most of Moon's investments there are also losing money.

Most of Moon's money comes from Japan. For almost 20 years there have been consistent reports that one of Moon's most important financial supporters and advisors is Ryoichi Sasakawa. In 1969, Moon and Sasakawa, together, formed the Freedom Leadership Foundation (FLF), which lobbied the U.S. for a hawkish position in Vietnam. One of Sasakawa's favorite projects for the Moon organization was Win Over Communism (WOC), which was a fund raiser for the Unification Church. Sasakawa. was the WOC's chairman. Sasakawa. is clearly one of the richest men in Japan. Much of his money comes from the Japanese motorboat racing industry. Since it was legalized in Japan, it has become a $14 billion sport. Sasakawa. describes himself as "the world's richest Fascist".

In addition to his riches, according to author Walter Pat Choate, "for more than half a century Sasakawa. has been one of the primary political brokers inside Japan". Choate claims that Sasakawa is part of Japan's attempts to influence America's politics and policies. "Many of Sasakawa's and Moon's operations parallel each other. They operate in the same way, giving away money, a great deal of attention to media and media organizations which operate across national borders, and the maintenance of a very right wing conservative focus," states Choate.

According to Choate, Sasakawa's political activities go back 50 years, when he formed one of the most radical and Fascist parties inside Japan. "He was one of those individual business leaders who was calling for war with the United States in the months preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor," claims Choate. In 1931, Sasakawa. formed the Kokusui Taishuto, a militarist political movement, and according to a U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps report after World War Two, Sasakawa. was "one of the most active Fascist organizers prior to the war." He was later imprisoned for plotting the assassination of a former Premier. In 1939, Sasakawa. even flew to Rome in one of his own aircraft to meet personally with Benito Mussolini to help arrange the Axis alliance between Italy, Germany and Japan. Sasakawa organized Japan's black shirts patterned after Mussolini's.

Ten months before the outbreak of World War Two, Sasakawa. toured the South Pacific in a flying boat. There still exist letters which he wrote to his close friend Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, and it was Sasakawa. who was virtually Yamamoto's only political contact to the far right wing in Japan.

Another prominent Japanese war criminal who became an important member and supporter of the Moon organization was Yoshio Kodama. Having become an ultra-nationalist, terrorist leader in Japan at the age of 15, Kodama joined scores of secret societies with names like Blood Brotherhood, Holy War Execution League, Federation of Radical Patriotic Workers, and Capital Rise Asia Academy. He made his living working for those murderous groups. These yakuza armies were bankrolled by and served the interests of wealthy industrials, the police and the Army. They broke up labor unions, "protected" factories and offices, and assassinated opposition leaders. Having participated in a failed plot to assassinate, in one stroke, all the most powerful men in Japan, Kodama ended up in prison for attempted assassination and other terrorist acts.

By 1940, Kodama had set up a strong working relationship with Japan's military intelligence apparatus, and served on many secret missions into Manchuria. The work landed him the lucrative position of supplying the Japanese Navy during World War Two. By one account, it was Sasakawa. who asked Kodama to do this work. He established the Kodama Agency, which according to U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps records, consisted of "systematically looting China of its raw materials". In order to accomplish this supply network, Kodama dealt in heroin, guns, tungsten, gold, salt, iron, owned farms, fisheries, an orphanage, and molybdenum mine, a munitions factory in China, industrial diamonds and radium, which he stole from the hospitals in Shanghai. Eventual he became known as "the man behind the Kempei Tai (secret police). When World War Two ended, Kodama was 34, a brigadier general, Cabinet advisor, and possessed millions of dollars worth of platinum, industrial diamonds, over $17 5 on in foreign currency, plus liquid assets.

At the end of World War Two, both Sasakawa. and Kodama were classified as Class A war criminals by the American Occupation Forces in Japan. According to American Intelligence, "Sasakawa. appears to be a man potentially dangerous to Japan's political future...He has been squarely behind Japanese military aggression and anti-foreignism for more than 20 years. He is a man of wealth and not too scrupulous about its use...He is not above wearing any new cloak that opportunism may offer." In 1946, an American Army officer attached to the International Military Tribunal in Japan, said of Kodama, "He committed numerous acts of violence in China in acquisition by foul means or fair of commodities and goods belonging to the Chinese," and that "ten years from today, Kodama is going to be a great leader in Japan." The officer's assessment of Kodama was bleak. "His long and fanatic involvement in ultra-nationalistic activities, violence included, and his skill in appealing to youth, make man who, if released from internment, would surely be a grave security risk...Persistent rumors as to his black market profits in his Shanghai period, plus his known opportunism, are forceful arguments that he would be as unscrupulous in trade as he was in ultra-nationalism."

But when the Cold War began, U.S. officials in Japan began to fear the Communists more than the Fascists, a pattern too familiar in Europe. Sasakawa., Kodama and other prominent Japanese war criminals were quietly released from prison in 1948, and many went on to play a dominant role in the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, the most important political party in Asia, which has controlled the political destiny of Japan ever since. It has been reported that Kodama's release from Sugamo Prison was the work of the CIA. As a result, many of the very same men in Japan who had worked closely with Nazi Germany a decade before, again assumed the leadership role in Japan.

By 1958, Kodama was one of the most powerful men in the Orient. That same year, he signed a contract with the Lockheed Corporation to help influence the Japanese government to reverse its intention to purchase the Grumman F-111 for the Japanese Air Force. To do this, Kodama used an American agent who had lost his U.S. citizenship by working with the Japanese during World War Two in Manchuria, another intelligence agent who had worked in China, and other associated politicians, including war crimes suspects whom he had met in Sugamo Prison. Among the people who helped him to secure the contract for Lockheed were General Minoru Genda, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, who had recently been appointed commander-in-chief of the new Japanese Air Force. Kodama had helped him in this new appointment. Lockheed received the Japanese contract and General Genda, who was a primary party in the bombing of Pearl Harbor 17 years earlier, received the U.S. Legion of Merit award f r U.S. Air Force.

Moon, Sasakawa. and Kodama first got together in the 1960s to form the Asian People's Anti-Communist League. Created with the help of South Korean intelligence agents and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the League dedicated itself to uniting Fascists throughout Asia and combatting Communism. The League set up and funded Moon's Freedom Center in the United States in 1964. Kodama was chief advisor for the Moon subsidiary, Win Over Communism, an organization which helped to protect his investments in South Korea. In 1966, the League merged with the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, another Fascist organization, to form the World Anti-Communist League. Dedicated to fighting Communism and promoting Fascism, and spreading to nearly 100 nations on six continents, the World Anti-Communist League was headed by John Singlaub, one of the key players in the Iran-Contra scandal.

According to Sara Diamond, the League was a "multinational network of Nazi war criminals, Latin American death squad leaders, North American racists and anti-Semites, and Fascist politicians from every continent." The headquarters for the League is in the United States, in the offices of Moon's Freedom Center.

MOONIES: influential friends in high places

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1992

Sixth in a Series

Friday, March 27, 1992

The enormously wealthy Reverend Sun Myung Moon has powerful friends in Washington and he uses his influential newspaper, the Washington Times, to keep these friends supportive of him. Moon has skillfully used the fear of Communism to gain powerful allies and to intimidate threatening foes.

What few do not understand is that Communism is really not an issue with Moon, it is merely a banner which Moon uses to rally a large enough force to exert a powerful influence on society.

In 1965, working with the South Korean CIA, Moon made his first visit to the United States and obtained a 45-minute audience with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike agreed to allow his name to be used on the letterhead of the Moon-created Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation, as did Harry S. Truman and Admiral Arliegh Burke. During the 1973-74 fall of President Richard Nixon, Rev. Moon captured the attention of the American media by supporting Nixon. He traveled across the nation proclaiming, "Forgive, Love, Unite". "The office of the President of the U.S. is sacred," Moon said. "God has chosen Richard Nixon to be President. Therefore, God has the power and authority to dismiss him." On December 11, Nixon sent a statement of appreciation to Moon and the Unification Church for their support. Hundreds of Moon followers demonstrated outside the White House in support of Nixon. Moon then received an audience with Nixon, the two embraced.

Moon also received proclamations honoring the Unification Church from such governors as Georgia's Jimmy Carter and Alabama's George Wallace. Moon received endorsements from Senators William L. Scott of Virginia, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Mark Hatfield of Oregon and J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, as well as Mayor John Lindsay of New York City and William F. Buckley, Jr. Moon had his picture taken and published with Senators Hubert Humphrey, Strom Thurmond, James L. Buckley and Edward Kennedy.

But Moon also devised a method of "lobbying" on Capitol Hill. He assigned three good-looking girls to each United States Senator. "Let them have a good relationship with them. One is for the election, one is to be the diplomat, and one is for the party. If our girls are superior to the senators in many ways, then the senators will be taken in by our members," stated Moon in 1973.

House Speaker Carl Albert had been closely linked with a female follower of the Unification Church. Several Congressmen were entertained in a Washington Hilton hotel suite rented by the Moonies. Everything the girls learned about Senators and Congressmen was to be entered into the Moonie's confidential file, including details of personal lives. Rev. Moon was Vice President George Bush's guest to the Reagan inaugural.

Moon is quoted in many publications as saying, "I will conquer and subjugate the world. I am your brain. The time will come, without my seeking it, when my words will almost serve as law. If I ask a certain thing, it will be done. If I don't want something, it will not be done."

Rev. Moon's organization has gained a tax-exempt status and has qualified for funding from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The Unification Church was granted exemption from taxes because the Moonies swore it did not engage in political or business activities.

Moon's followers had control or influence over the following: International Cultural Foundation, International Oceanic Enterprises, Tong Il Enterprises, Diplomat National Bank, One Up Enterprises, Unification Church International, News World, Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation, Little Angels, U.S. Foods Corporation, Unification Church of the U.S.A., Japan Unification Church, Toitsu Industries, One Way Productions, Sekai Nippo (World Daily News) of Japan, Il Hwa Pharmaceutical Company, and Paragon Press.

Money flowed freely from country to country. Moonie investigators gain access to the legitimate press corps by posing as journalists. Moonie money from foreign countries bought a controlling interest in an American bank without regard for banking laws and securities regulations. Nationally syndicated columnist Jack Anderson was named chairman of the executive committee of the Diplomat National Bank. The U.S. Senate held hearings concerning Moon's "programmatic bribery of U.S. officials, journalists and others as part of an operation by the Korean CIA to influence the course of U.S. foreign policy."

Now that you know about the organization, that it is far from a religious cult, the series will now focus on the youth and others of this country that have fallen victim to the Moon scenario.

MOONIES: Young girl wins back her will

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul

Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1992

Last of a Seven Part Series

Friday, April 3, 1992

The Moonies, with programming the minds of youth, also instill a protection device in the mind to make deprogramming difficult and shattering. The youth are programmed to resist listening to deprogrammers on the grounds that the deprogrammers are subhumans, working for Satan.

Parents and families that seek to "reclaim" their family member from the Moonies have a terrible time. They must first seek court orders, have law enforcement intercede and then pay for the long and costly deprogramming process. Families have nearly bankrupted themselves in order to extract their Moonie-controlled loved one.

One such person, who was part of the New Education Development in Napa County, once said to herself as she faced deprogramming, "I had finally convinced myself that if my faith was real, it could withstand any examination, confrontation, opposition." The girl spent four years with the Moonies. But as the deprogramming approached, the fear inside the girl was such that she wanted to punch her mother and strangle her brother. "In that rushing moment I literally despised my love for both of them, because they stood as antagonists to my secure construct of 'total community' and 'higher ideals'."

On the next day, the girl awoke to realize that her dearest friends were suddenly accessible to her, where under the Moonie system they were not, and she was free of "heavy Church obligations of witnessing, Trinity meetings, and flower selling, almost like a vacation.

From the book Hostage To Heaven, the girl relates her feelings. "As Mom, Dad and I sat down together for lunch, I felt myself straining to bury my parents alive. How could I tell them that they weren't my True Parents? That they weren't close to God? That they weren't perfect as Sun Myung Moon and his wife were? Yet how could I deny the unconditional love and justice they had shown through their publicly unpopular commitment to free me of an entrapment I could barely perceive? Something hidden in my smouldering heart refused to replace their genuine, touchable love and sacrifice with my pure, crystalline, abstract image of Moon's untouchable love. My mother confided that God had pulled her through the years of my separation and rejection. As we got in the car I was forced to ask myself, if everyone claims God, then who really has God? I didn't know anymore?"

To this girl and to other Moonie conscripts, Moon was considered to be the Messiah. "And so began the inevitable evaluation of Reverend Moon's character that the Church had warned against," she said. She stated that her emotions rushed out blindly to come to Reverend Moon's defense, protect him. "I didn't want to hear logical arguments evaluating by worldly standards Moon's action and words. I longed to retain my unconditional, untested faith in his purity. I can't describe the depth of pain I experienced in considering the possibility that the one I had loved absolutely might be less than what a God ought to be. I knew instinctively I was coming closer to the possibility that my love of Moon was a projection for my own mental and emotional need for someone to fill an unviolated place in my heart. All my insides fought against this like a caged animal let free and terrified of freedom."

The girl had accepted Moon as the messiah. "I wasn't measuring Moon's words and actions by my own idea, of what a Messiah should be like morally, socially, spiritually; instead, because I'd early accepted that he was the Messiah beyond my or the world's judgment, I was surrendering my own ability to think, to trust my own instincts, conscience and judgement."

Representatives of Moon interceded and talked to the girl. They told her, "Satan wants to trick you into thinking life outside the Church is free and marvelous. Don't let them influence you. Six thousand years of human misery is resting on your shoulders,. You must not give up your innocence, your allegiance, ever."

During deprogramming, the girl was told about the mind-control techniques used in Communist China as analyzed by Yale psychiatrists. "To my shock," she said, "I recognized these techniques as the same ones read to me on the way to Napa for an interview."

The Moonies laid a foundation for deprogramming. "Go ahead, indulge, if they give you alcohol during your deprogramming. Do anything external to fake them out that you've quit the Church. Then, when they relax the security, race back to us."

The girl, as she began to see a different light, composed a list of the ways that the Unification Church was bending American laws from her personal knowledge and experience (these points may be minor compared to the national scale, but they do reflect the violation of the smallest principles):

Not getting solicitation permits, violating state or township codes for solicitation. Selling by misrepresentation. Forging of personal checks. Misrepresentation on welfare, Medi-Cal application forms. Avoiding payment of traffic violations, parking tickets. Cash donations not recorded. Misuse of land, health and zoning permits. No respect for private property in the selling of members' property without their knowledge or approval. Signing retainer agreements for attorneys without signers being allowed to meet with such attorneys. Evasion of truth on witness stands in courts of laws. Renting motel facilities for one person, then sneaking many more into the room. Turning off odometers on rental cars to reduce fees. Using deceptive membership applications. Encouraging members to violate legal conservatorships by escape or non-compliance. Deceptive immigration and visa practices.

"I joined the Unification Church because I thought I'd found the ultimate truth. I left the cult because I realized (after deprogramming) that the truth wasn't black and white. I discovered it wasn't that my own faith in God was inauthentic; I'd wrongly worshipped a 'God" that Moon's Principles had created in my mind, a 'God' who mistrusted individual freedom of will," the girl stated. Another girl stated that she cried for five days during her deprogramming, that what hurt most was her final realization that Moon and her Moonie friends were not perfect people, but instead they were shrewd and calculating.

"The hearings and deprogramming allowed me to discover that in the cult I hadn't owned or had access to a private inner life of truth, free of guilt or manipulation," the girl held in Napa County stated. But after deprogramming she said, "I could see that the greatest responsibility ever granted me, or any human being, was to act from free will, especially in evaluating right and wrong in a complex world. I had confused security with enlightenment. So I came out of the (Unification) Church."

Reverend Moon is powerful, rich and has sway and influence over some of this nation's highest public officials, but in the end, the mind of a young girl overcame this power, this influence, to set her will free again.

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