Ten Years in Moon’s Gravity
In 1984 I was an idealistic (naïve) Australian out to see the world and discover the purpose of life, the universe and everything. I first stayed in Hawaii where I surfed and windsurfed. Though I had a good life I felt I was missing something… a sense of purpose, & belonging. I became a „born-again“ Christian and started going to a Protestant Christian Church. I then went to Southern California and then San Francisco. On the second day of a bicycle trip from the Bay Area to LA I wound up at Bush Street with the San Francisco CARP (moonies) on a Friday night (November 11 1984) and was whisked off to „Camp K“ (later called Maacama Hills). If you’re an x-moonie you will know the rest well: 7, 21, & 40 day workshops, MFT, witnessing, campus work (mainly Chabot College, Hayward & Berkeley), & the Unification Theological Seminary (class of 92).
After 7 years I began to develop a growing awareness of what was really happening in the UC and the „true family.“ My doubts grew but I wasn’t sure. I then started to chart my own course on the edges of the movement: photographer for the ILS in Russia, english teacher in Korea, business ethics lecturer at some run-down universities in Novosibirsk, Siberia, and project coordinator for RYS projects in Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. At the same time I was trying to reach some conclusions as to who Rev Moon really was … a giant fraud or a true Messiah (who perhaps just didn’t fit my preconceptions of a messiah). After so much indoctrination it wasn’t easy separating the fact from fiction.
After 10 years I’d had enough… I still wasn’t completely sure, but I couldn’t believe in what „the movement“ was doing. It was clear to me that most activities were just PR without any substance. I was at the Assembly of World Religions in Korea in 1992 and the atmosphere was very bad. Moon was basically sulking because the religious leaders from other religions were not bowing down to him and proclaiming him the messiah. The last few years of being a „rebel moonie“ had been exciting but nowhere was home.
I returned to Australia at the very end of 1994 and refused to go back to NY where my „blessed“ wife (’92) was working directly for Moon’s eldest son, Hyo Jin Moon, at the Manhattan Center. Some of you may know Madelene Pretorious.. a good email friend of mine now. It was about 8 months after I cut all ties with „the movement“ that Madelene herself left and told me all about the Moon family (see the book by Hyo Jin’s wife, Nan Sook… plus more). That was an incredibly liberating day for me because I finally had irrefutable direct evidence that what I suspected was true: Moon and his family were frauds and hypocrites (those that hadn’t rejected Rev Moon at least). It was as if a weight dropped off my back … a burden of guilt conditioning I didn’t fully realise I was carrying.
I now live back in Australia with my wife Junko, whom I met here in Australia (never been in the UC), near the beaches where I grew up. Its been five years since I returned now, but I still haven’t completely gotten over that whole experience. The betrayal. It was like having a spouse whom you totally trusted and put your faith in… whom you dedicated your life to for at least 7 years and then you gradually start to find it harder and harder to ignore the evidence that your spouse has been deceiving you and cheating on you all along! You’re in denial. You find it hard to believe that anyone could be so shamelessly manipulative, then one day, a close friend tells you how they walked in on them having sex with the church choir etc. Finally you can deny it no more!
I find it hard to feel quite the same dedication and commitment to anything that I once had. However, I am one of the very fortunate ones. I’ve come out of the whole experience with my health and basic well being still reasonably intact. There were many whose physical and emotional health suffered far more… including a friend who now uses a wheelchair as the result of an MFT car accident.
These days I work as a community officer for the education department and go surfing most days. Even if sometimes I feel that I don’t really fit in here in Australia (or perhaps anywhere) I still have a lot to be grateful for. There are worse fates then joining the Moonies… but I don’t recommend it.