Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

Cults on campus and chaplains’ awareness

January 14, 2005

An interesting paper on the awareness of cults and preparedness of campus chaplains to deal with the cult problem on campus can be read here (pdf). As I’ve suspected, there is some ignorance among these chaplains about the cult problem and the seriousness of it. Of course, the chaplains should not be dealing with the problem by themselves.

"Moon holds coronation at Capitol"

June 18, 2004

There’s a report about the kinds of things that are made possible by the general ignorance about the cult problem. Also see this and that article.

Moon has gotten a lot of mileage by appealing to social and religious conservatives in the US, both with money and by co-opting the message of “family values”, “christian values” and “world peace.” (*) The Wheaton College student newspaper editor has even done an internship at the Washington Times, owned by Moon.

Moon parades around the Capitol, UBF holds a conference at Wheaton College, UBF holds large conferences at major universities: all made possible by ignorance, lack of information and the deceptive face that cults like to present.

(*) It’s funn to hear UBF USA leaders also go on about America’s Christian roots, about school prayer, about “In God We Trust”, about America being the “City on a Hill” because it fits into the UBF “vision” and catchphrase of KOP & HN. (They are strangely mum about abortion, though. Hm.) Easier to talk about America’s problems than their own.

Also, from the blog of the freelance journalist who covered this Moon coronation:

(Add the love of baseball bat “training” to arranged marriages on the list of things that the Unification Church and UBF have had in common)

Capitol’s King of Peace wants to whale on you with a baseball bat (not the original article, but similar)

As James posts in the comments section, still no baseball team in Washington. But in 1997, future UPI wire service president Chung Kwak was given standing orders to hit slacker Unification Church members with a baseball bat. The man recently coronated in the Senate offices as the King of Peace declared:

How much easier it is for you compared to True Father’s course. You have absolutely no excuse. […] (Applause) Father wants Reverend Kwak to keep a baseball bat in his hand all the time and if he sees anyone neglecting their mission in this regard then he can freely use it. Particularly those who are sleeping and hiding, Reverend Kwak’s baseball bat will fall upon you at any time. Father is ordering all of us to make our absolute commitment to Reverend Kwak to accomplish the 3.6 million couples Blessing this year.

Reverend Moon has been talking about hitting people with baseball bats for some time now. In 1976 he said:

I will never retire. The only thing you can do to stop me is to leave no work for me to do. Do you think that if you do, I would hit you with a baseball bat and tell you to go away, stop blocking my way? Suppose I were to hit you with the baseball bat to stop you, bloodying your ear and breaking a bone or two, yet still you insisted on doing more work for Father.

In 1980:

A great champion would say, “Thank you Father! Next time you bring your baseball bat to hit me, I will be ready.”

In 1987 he imagined what would happen if Satan came along and tried to steal Moon’s act:

You have a relationship with True Father, but suppose Satan comes along with a thick baseball bat made of iron.

From the 1998 Gates of True Love” speech:

What if Father tries to beat you out of the Unification Church with a baseball bat? Will you leave?

There’s really nothing funny about this violent false Messiah, just as there’s nothing funny about the violence that Samuel Lee perpetrated, instigated and ordered while he was leading UBF.

One thing I remember clearly: In the early 90s, I was there one Sunday during Lee’s lengthy announcements when he said that he had learned some “good” things from Sun Myung Moon.

Another letter

March 30, 2004

Another letter sent prior to my personal story:

Dear Dr. []:

I appreciated the opportunity to talk with you over the phone on November 11. The following is written as a followup to what we talked about.

Though the [] may not necessarily be able to disqualify a group on charges of their being authoritarian and applying excessive control in the guise of discipleship, I am sure that the [] recognizes that authority and discipleship can be taken to a degree that is harmful and even destructive to individuals and to the gospel. Sadly, there have been several real-world examples of this failure in American ministries.

Since the late 1970s, UBF has developed a reputation among cult watchers in the United States because its authoritarianism and excessive control over members have run out of control. Groups do not develop a reputation as cultic because a small handful of people have been harmed or their feelings hurt. Groups develop a reputation as cultic because of the outcry of the great many people they have harmed. One of the main reasons for UBF’s reputation is that during UBF’s history in the USA, the parents of many UBF recruits have alerted cult watchers about UBF because UBF affected drastic negative personality changes in their children, changes that are NOT consistent with what evangelical Christians would consider to be regeneration through the Holy Spirit. Most alarming to these parents was an apparent devotion on the part of their children to a group and especially to its leader, a devotion expressed through near-absolute obedience to that leader. Even the non-Christians among these parents knew the difference between a healthy devotion to God and an unhealthy devotion to man.

If there is any vestige of the Holy Spirit and respect for the truth in a group that has gone bad through out-of-control authoritarianism, there may be hope for the recognition of error, repentance, renunciation of past practices and restoration. Happily, there have been some real-world examples of American ministries that recognized and repented of the error of excessive authoritarianism and control. The shepherding movement of the “Ft. Lauderdale Five” was one such movement that recognized its error fairly quickly. Another example might be the [], a current [] member. A very recent example might be the International Church of Christ (aka Boston Church of Christ), a relatively young group compared to UBF. But in UBF, I see a group that for well over 30 years since it started in Korea has not recognized its error, that sees no need for repentance or for the renunciation of past practices in spite of its continued negative reputation. A movement was begun in 2000-2001 to reform the ministry. UBF’s reaction was to cut off the would-be reformers, nearly half its total membership. Talk to the current leadership of UBF, and you will find that they do not recognize or acknowledge that the group has done anything really wrong to deserve its reputation. They stubbornly cling to a fatal error that other ministries have wisely renounced and rejected.

I recognize that the [] is not an accountability body. But I believe there is little hope for any substantive change in UBF unless the Body of Christ begins to somehow hold UBF accountable. There are now some positive signs that this is already happening. In late 2001, the Korean Campus Evangelical Network (KCEN,, whose membership includes the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ, sent a message to UBF that their continued membership in the KCEN would be contingent upon UBF’s changing its conduct and unbiblical practices. Sadly, UBF’s response was to withdraw from the KCEN. I hope and pray that the [] in its deliberations on this issue can send a much needed message to UBF’s leaders that legitimacy in the evangelical community carries with it the need for accountability.

I have also attached to this letter a summary of some of the biblical/doctrinal errors that I saw as a member of UBF.