STEVEN HASSAN [email], @cultexpert, FreedomOfMind.com
Hassan is author of three books on issues relating to undue influence and the destructive cult experience, most recently, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. He was a leading member of the Moon organization in the 1970s.
He said today: “The death of my former cult leader, Sun Myung Moon, affords us a rare opportunity to seize the moment to open a probing conversation about the undue social influences of cults and what we can do about them. It is also an opportunity to remember his pernicious role in American public life, arriving as he did as a creature of the founder of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, who, a Congressional investigation reported had ‘organized and utilized the Unification Church for use as a political tool.’
“I once considered Rev. Moon to be my True Father, and with Mrs. Moon, the True Parents of all mankind. Moon was of course, the epitome of the cult leader of the 70s, and his glassy eyed followers were known as Moonies. I know, because I was one of them, and was the assistant director of the Unification Church at U.S. National Headquarters.
“I learned and used on others many of the same manipulations and deceptions that had been used on me. I am deeply sorry for that, and have spent three decades learning how cult mind control works, teaching what I have learned, and applying the lessons where I can, to help victims and their families.”
FREDERICK CLARKSON [email], talk2action.org
Clarkson is a Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates in Somerville, Massachusetts. A longtime observer of the Religious Right, including Rev. Moon, he devoted a chapter to the Moon organization in his book, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy. His profile of Moon critic Steven Hassan will be published this week at the webzine, Religion Dispatches.
“Rev. Sun Myung Moon was among the most pernicious anti-democratic figures in the United States in the latter half of the 20th century. Moon hated America. He hated our tradition of individual rights and independent thought. He hated democracy and said he wanted to replace it with a theocracy under his rule. Although many would be loath to admit it, Moon has been a central figure in the development of the modern American conservative movement since the 1960s — from Richard Viguerie’s direct mail operations to the religious and political empire of Jerry Falwell.
“Whether one’s religious or non-religious identity — Christian,Jew, atheist or whatever – the Moon organization has treated the minds and sacred beliefs of others like they were targets of a covert operation. The Moon organization has no respect, and only contempt for the views of anyone who is not a member of the True Family, and part of the covert operation.”
Also, see by Robert Parry “How Rev. Moon’s ‘Snakes’ Infested U.S.”