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WHY WE USE SYMBOLS/ICONS IN OUR LISTS.

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Mother Takes-on Moon

 
Cynthia Lilley
(B.A., American University) is a welcome addition to AFF�s advisory board, not least because of her passionate concern for families that have suffered as hers has done. A nationwide audience of the "Today" show received a stunning lesson on November 8, 1993 when Ms. Lilley was shown in company with family members and an NBC crew, laying siege to Unification Church headquarters, demanding access to her daughter. Eighteen-year-old Cathryn had completed a year at college and was beginning a summer job in New York City. Within days, she sent her mother a chilling letter, announcing that she would be traveling around the country with a wonderful group, working with alcoholics and addicts, and unreachable by phone. The address she gave, Ms. Lilley soon learned, was a Moonie post box. She spent the night crying, and decided next day that from that moment, her life�s work was to rescue her daughter.

Her satisfying career in music education on hold, she was soon immersed in consultation with family, friends, police, lawyers, private eyes, social workers, and counselors who were ex-cultists. She spent days telephoning other Moonies� parents, absorbing everything they could tell. AFF president Herb Rosedale gave her invaluable advice and encouragement, as did Dr. Jolly West ("he was terrific"), and AFF�s Washington lawyer, David Bardin ("a great taskmaster"), who kept her busy writing letters. Working "harder than at any time in [her] life," she left herself little time to despair.

It took two months to find Cathryn�s address and, faced with a camera crew and an adamant family on their doorstep, the Moonies relented to permit a brief, sad, and inconclusive reunion between mother and daughter. Sixteen-year-old brother Jonathan was not permitted inside, but he called his messages of love and support through the open stairwell. A final shot showed the distraught family walking away into the summer dusk. The November broadcast succeeded where calls and letters had failed: within three days, the U.C. allowed Cathryn to go home for a visit. She said later, "I was so broken down at that point that I thought, I may be rejecting the truth, but I can�t go on." The family�s relief was indescribable.

Ms. Lilley has seen at close range both the marvels and the inadequacies of cult education and rehabilitation. She is committed to improving both.

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Lilley, Cynthia: "Mother Takes-on Moon"
Ω Conference 1997: PA Presenter

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