Horror stories in the UC and UBF

(Related: 1, 2, 3)

This was a post from February about horror stories told in the Unification Church and in UBF about former members:

I was reading something written by Ingo Michehl, a former Moonie. He and I may have crossed paths around 1989-90 at UIC in Chicago while I was going to school there and he was recruiting there for CARP, a student organization and Moonie front group. As expected, there are echoes of UBF in a lot of what he writes about his Moonie experience. Something I wanted to highlight is his experience of the horror stories that were told about what would happen to those who left the group:

My last leader, Mr. Tetsuo Yoshizumi, in Chicago once came to me after my not having followed one of his directions completely. He stuck a few hundred dollars into my shirt pocket, pushed me and yelled “I don’t want you in my center any more! You are satan! Go back to Germany – with satan! NOW! Pack your stuff and GET OUT!”

I was shocked! If I obeyed his command I would commit “spiritual suicide” (since we were taught that upon leaving the church, satan would invade us completely, destroy our family, cause us to become insane or die through some horrible accident. At meetings we would continuousely hear testimonies of leaders about members who would not “unite” with their leaders (called CF’s or Central Figures). One story the regional director of Chicago, Rev. Hong, one of Mr. Moon’s first disciples, told was that upon disuniting with his directions, a member’s child had just been born without ears. Another disobedient member had developed cancer – satan’s punishment.). What would you have done in my situation if you had been indoctrinated with all these very real fears? Well, some part of me was rebellious, saying “OK! If all my work is not enough, and you really want me to leave – I’ll go!”. Yet the other part which was dominated by fear, guilt and low self-esteem which my leader had beaten into me (verbally as well as physically), was stronger, so I lowered my head and said “I repent! I’m sorry! I’ll never do it again!”

Here are some of the UBF defenses of the horror stories told by Sam Lee, defenses that I’ve heard and read:

  • “You have to know the ‘context’ and Dr. Lee’s motives.”
  • “Was it wrong for Dr. Lee to tell such stories? No.”
  • “You should not ask whether it was wrong for Dr. Lee to tell such stories. Rather, you should ask whether the stories are true.”

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