on Moon Movement
The following letter was sent by Herbert L. Rosedale,
president of the American Family Foundation (publisher of
The Cult Observer),
in response to a January 15, 1994 story on National Public Radios "Weekend
Edition Saturday." Some of Mr. Rosedales remarks were read during a
subsequent edition of Weekend Edition Saturday.
I am the president of The AFF, a nationwide organization in which more
than 100 professionals (doctors, lawyers, theologians and educators) donate their time to
educating the public about the dangers of destructive cults. One of the most significant
s we face in our task is rebutting "after the
fact" one-sided presentations that deal with a very significant social concern in an
incomplete and un-objective manner.
In the program presented on Weekend Edition . . .
Scott Simon presented a view of the Unification Church as if there were no objective
negative knowledge developed with respect to this group in the past twenty years. It
wholly ignored the findings of Congressman Fraziers report  as a beginning
point. It ignored numerous court decisions which have nothing to do with the belief
structure of the Unification Church but rather deal with its "heavenly"
deception of state authorities such as a Board of Regents [in the State of New York] and
various zoning boards.
Commentary concerning the criminal prosecution and
sentencing of Mr. Moon and another senior Unification official ignored the court finding
(upheld on appeal) that there were forgeries and alteration of documents which more than
justified the punishment meted out. Responsible and balanced recent analyses of the
Unification Church and its activities have appeared on public television and on a number
of networks in Japan. Those programs did not deal with the beliefs of Unification members.
They did, however, address significant claims of wrongdoing leveled against it and its
affiliates. Professionals who have developed expertise in treating those injured as a
result of their experience with the Unification Church are readily available and someone
seeking them out could have obtained their input to balance the views of Unification
Church members and supporters, who often find their support buttressed by financial
I find it surprising that the show chose to reach out to an
"expert" who recently had her government support terminated because, I am told,
of unhappiness with an alleged lack of responsiveness to victims of destructive cults and
The influence of the Unification Church in the media had
been well-documented. Resignation of certain editorial personnel at The Washington
Times who claim they were subjected to improper control is a matter of public record.
The Unification Churchs recent foray into television and its affiliates
purchase of control over the University of Bridgeport have likewise been the subject of
The American Family Foundation does not assert that no
person can find a reason for joining a group like the Unification Church or for staying in
that group and making a long-term commitment to it. A fully-informed decision to choose a
way of life is entitled to respect, but one must continue to wonder why it is that so many
of the people who choose to leave this group cite deception in their recruitment, coercion
in their retention, and the attempted destruction of their family values and moral
integrity. Surely, that is an issue warranting equal concern with examination of those who
have remained committed to a totalistic group for the better portion of their lives. The
presentation given [on NPR] did not treat the participants as true believers, but rather
as unfairly persecuted members of a weak minority religion.
Criticism of the Unification Church by groups
characterizing it as a destructive cult does not involve its eastern origin or its
beliefs. Rather, criticism has focused upon its use of deception in recruitment and its
totalistic view, as well as injury it has caused to persons who become involved in it
without their informed consent.
As the president of an organization devoted to educating
the public, I would appreciate your considering an appropriate program to supplement the
views set forth on the Weekend Edition of January 15. You might consider, in that
connection, using the book
From Cults, published by W. W. Norton Company and edited by the Executive
Director of AFF
D. Langone]. The book is an alternate selection of the Behavioral Science
Book Club and presents a series of professional papers articulating a view wholly
different from that presented on your program. It deals with an issue of national public
concern that cannot and should not be buried under the well-financed propaganda cloak of
an organization skilled at media manipulation.