United States House of Representatives
January 28, 1976
Volume 122, Part 2
The SPEAKER pro tempore, Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from California (Mr. CHARLES H. WILSON) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. CHARLES H. WILSON of California. Mr. Speaker, on this occasion I should like to say a few words, and introduce into the RECORD some material regarding the controversial religious leader, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a man who has induced thousands of our young people to join his cult.
America, as it has been said many times before, is a land of opportunity and many of the people from other lands who have come here have worked hard, earned their rewards, become good citizens and have, in fact, made this country the shining example of democracy and opportunity that it is today. To be sure, the ancestors of most Americans, unless they were Indians, came here from somewhere else, either in the recent past or long ago.
Unfortunately, there are always those who would take advantage of the American system, people who would take advantage of our laws safeguarding civil rights, and our laws insuring religious freedom. Such a person, in my estimation, is the Reverend Moon, who not only preaches a strange brand of hocus-pocus all his own, but who also seems to profit by it himself enormously while his converts, our youngsters, are begging for him in the streets.
Reverend Moon is from South Korea. He is 54 and he arrived here in 1972. He now has a 22-acre estate, which includes an $850,000 mansion, in Tarrytown, N.Y.
The Republic of Korea itself is embarrassed by what Reverend Moon is doing in this country. In fact, the Korean Embassy here would like it made known that the Reverend Moon is in no way associated with the Korean Government and is not, in any way, representing Korea in this country. He does not speak for Korea. As for his religion, if that is what it is, it is regarded as being as weird in Korea as it is here.
Last week, the National Enquirer newspaper, the largest weekly newspaper in the United States, ran two articles on Reverend Moon. These two articles, one of which was written by a bold young reporter who actually pretended to join one of Moon’s cells, show the shameful way that youngsters who do join up are treated.
The articles also show the fabulous lifestyle that this charlatan has built on the beggings of his disciples. I enter these articles now for your perusal because I think that they tell anyone who is interested all one needs to know about Reverend Moon. In fact, they tell you even more than you want to know about Moon, if you are easily disgusted.
The articles follow:
It was a voice I couldn’t escape because it spoke to me from deep inside my throbbing head – “You’re loosing your mind, you’re losing your mind, you’re losing your mind…”
Three days and three nights of the most intense indoctrination – a torturous regimen of chanting, singing, shouting, praying and relentless brainwashing by the fanatical Moon sect – had pushed me to the breaking point.
“Fight it, you’ve got to fight it!” I kept telling myself.
I’m not particularly religious, but I was raised by Christian parents to believe in God and the teachings of Jesus. Yet I found myself struggling to maintain a grip on my faith under an unceasing bombardment of absolutely absurd religious and historical mumbo jumbo concocted by the sect’s zealous founder, Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon.
I knew that what I was being asked to believe was rubbish – but there were fleeting moments toward the end of my stay with his trained followers, called Moonies – when I began questioning my own beliefs.
“If what the Moonies say is true, then everything you believe is wrong, the frightened voice in my head would tell me.
It was then – in panic and confusion – that I slipped away to a telephone and called my editor.
“Don’t send me back! For God’s sake, don’t make me go back! I just can’t take it anymore. I’m losing my mind.”
My incredible ordeal began when I posed as a footloose traveler and was approached by a Moonie recruiter Tony O’Neill outside the New York City Public Library.
“Today could be the turning point of your life,” he said with a disarming smile as he invited me to join a Moonie workshop.
I was night when I entered the three-story house on a tree-lined street in Forest Hills, N.Y. It was also Halloween, an appropriate day for what was to follow.
Several other recruits and I were greeted by smartly-dressed Moonies with fixed smiles and blank eyes. We were ushered to our sleeping quarters in the basement – a windowless, badly ventilated room in which sleeping bags filled every inch of floor space.
After depositing our belongings, we were ushered back upstairs to a small room with orange carpeting and bare, yellow walls.
We were a mixed group that included Roy, a 26-year-old cowboy from Tulsa who called himself a “half-breed”; Don, a 17-year-old Brooklyn kid whose parents had just split up; and Jim, a 30-year-old Wall Street financial analyst who was undergoing psychiatric treatment. In all, there were 17 young men and women, many of whom would pledge at the end of their indoctrination period to abandon their pasts and dedicate their lives to the Rev. Moon.
In this oppressive yellow room they would be brain-washed to believe in Rev. Moon’s “Divine Principle.” They would come to accept him as a Prophet of God . . . “as the only person who can pull our crumbling world together.”
Many would end up back on the streets begging money for Moon’s multimillion-dollar organization, as many Moonies spend their days doing.
Hirachi Ikoma, a converted Buddhist from Japan, our workshop leader, stood in the front of the room next to a big, green chalkboard.
“You will find much love, much emotion here,” he said as we sat cross-legged on the floor.
One by one, he asked each member of the group to introduce himself. And after each person spoke, Moonies in the room would lead a round of wild applause.
The events of that Friday night took off like a whirlwind, setting a terrifying pace for the days ahead. We linked arms, sat in a circle and sang songs while one of the Moonies pounded a piano. We swayed back and forth chanting prayers which were almost impossible to follow. Moonies pray by blurting out anything that comes to mind and punctuating virtually every sentence by shouting “Father!”
The assault on our brains continued without letup. Over and over we repeated, “Please, Father, I pray that out brothers will open their hearts and accept what they have been told.” Then the prayers would go straight into a song: “Father, make me a rainbow to bridge old and new. Father, make me a gateway for many to come through … Father, make me a prism held in your hand.”
I felt myself gripped by strange tensions. Everywhere I looked, I saw Moonies watching us with those fixed smiles and blank eyes.
When we finally turned in at midnight I was exhausted and upset.
I felt like I had just drifted off to sleep when a Moonie switched on the bright ceiling lights. It was 7 a.m. Saturday. “Good morning everybody, good morning. Time to get up, time to get up.”
He was wearing that same ridiculous smile that I would come to hate. Out 17-hour day had begun.
At 7:30, Ikoma rushed into the yellow room literally screaming “Good morning!” Then we plunged into 30 minutes of furious exercise “to clear our heads and open our hearts for the spirit of the Divine Principle.” At 8 o’clock we charged into 15 minutes of prayer and song, followed by a cornflakes breakfast.
At 9:45 we received our first lecture by 26-year-old John Raucci, an ex-Catholic brother with a psychology degree who joined the Moon sect nearly two years ago.
“The Rev. Moon has discovered secrets unknown to men for all time,” he said, as he proceeded to blitz us with incredible statements.
We were told, for example, that Satan’s number was 6. Therefore, World War 2 was Satan’s war because it started in “1941” and if you add 1, 9, 4, 1 you get 15 and 1 plus 5 is 6.
Whenever I raised my hand to ask a question or to challenge a point I was told, “perhaps we’ll have time for questions later.” But we never did.
The lecture was followed by more songs and prayers, games and exercises, followed by another lecture, followed by more games and prayers – and so it went throughout the day and into the night.
By Sunday my head was swimming in the non-stop verbal barrage, my nerves were shot, my muscles ached. I began to realize the meaning of brainwashing.
And as the incessant drumming of the Divine Principle continued, the yellow room seemed to get smaller and smaller until I feared it would crush me.
I sat there rigidly, in a cold sweat. “No, no, no!” the voice inside my head screamed. “Push the walls back. I’ll do anything you want.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I feared that if I remained on day longer I might succumb in this crazy mental pressure cooker – might even start to swallow the Moonie line. That’s when I managed to slip away and call my editor.
My immense relief at having broken free from the sect’s influence was marred only by the pity I felt for those I left behind.
Brainwashings . . . abductions . . . beatings . . . a suicide.
Controversy has swirled around the Unification Church and its founder, multimillionaire religious leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon ever since he arrived in the U.S. in 1972 and began converting tens of thousands of young people into devoted disciples called “Moonies.”
The 54-year-old Moon set himself up in an $850,000, 25-room mansion on a 22-acre estate in Tarrytown, N.Y. He is chauffeured around in a new Lincoln Continental limousine – a gift from his followers who sell candy, flowers and actually beg for money on the street for Rev. Moon and his Unification Church.
Swayed by the grueling, non-stop preachings by his followers, new members have left their families and joined the movement in the fervent belief that Rev. Moon – a Korean industrialist – is the new prophet.
“It’s frightening what these Moonies can do to the family unit,” said Rabbi Maurice Davis of White Plains, N.Y. He has formed a national anti-Moon organization called Citizens Engaged in Reuniting Families. It has a membership of 500 families who have “lost” their children to Rev. Moon.
“I get letters from parents all over the country telling me the same story,” said Rabbi Davis. “The kids are swept along by his outfit and then taken away for a few days to a ‘workshop.’ By the time the parents see their kids again – if they can manage to see them – the kids are starry-eyed and ready to take on anyone who disagrees with them. It’s a form of hypnotism.
“There is something very unhealthy going on.”
New Jersey insurance commissioner James Sheeran lost three daughters to Moon’s church. When Sheeran tried to get them to return home, he said, he was beaten up by Moonies.
“These Moon people are bent on breaking up the institution of family and my daughters have been brainwashed into believing them,” Sheeran declared.
“They used to be normal, happy girls and now they want nothing whatever to do with their family.
“These Moonies even resort to violence to keep the kids there.”
A former Moonie named Steve attests to the violence – he says he spent six weeks in the hospital with four broken bones in his face after Moonies attacked him.
“I just couldn’t believe their teachings any longer,” he told The Enquirer, fearful that allowing his last name to be used would result in reprisals against him.
“I just realized that what they were telling me was not true and I got outspoken. One day while outside one of their centers, a group of them beat me up. I’m just glad I got away with my mind.”
William Daly, 23, of Long Island, N.Y., wasn’t so lucky. He was a Moonie for five months when he threw himself in front of a train last April.
Daly’s heartbroken mother told Rabbi Davis, “I just don’t know what those people did to my son.”
New York psychiatrist Dr. Ernest Giovanoli, who has helped straighten out the minds of ex-Moonies, said that one young man committed suicide because he didn’t consider himself worthy of the Moon cause.
“Many young people exposed to the sect’s incredible influence had to be literally ‘deprogrammed’ over a period of days before they were capable of resuming normal life in the outside world,” the psychiatrist said.
Despite these shocking reports, the Moonies’ influence is spreading across the country at a startling rate.
“We are the most controversial movement in the U.S. today, but our numbers have swelled to 30,000 in American in just three years,” boasted Mike Runyon, secretary-treasurer of the Unification Church, in New York.
“We have at least one center in every state and in 50 other countries, too. And our worldwide membership is over 3 million.
“Rev. Moon realized his mission in life after Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision on a Korean mountainside in 1936.
“Through prayer and meditation he put together the ‘Divine Principle’ which gives new meaning to the teachings of the Bible and to history. He began to spread word of his Divine Principle in 1948. He took his teachings to Japan and started a world tour in 1965 and then came to the U.S. to live in 1972.”