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Title Moon Organization - Cynthia Lilly - Sun Myung Moon's Family Values: A Mother's Story

Sun Myung Moon s Family Values: A Mother s Story The Blessing Ceremony being held by Sun Myung Moon this week in honor of the family is a sham. I know this first hand; my family was torn apart by the Unification Church, the church founded by Moon. In June of 1993 my 18 year old daughter, Cathryn, disappeared. Lured into attending a seminar given by CARP, the Unification Church student organization, she was subjected to highly sophisticated methods of mind control, coaxed into staying for a week, then a month, then spending the rest of her life as a Moonie. In the process she was convinced that she had to reject her former life in virtually every respect: her values, her plans, her education, her friends and her family. She was to worship the self-proclaimed Messiah, Sun Myung Moon, regarding him and Mrs. Moon as her true parents. while seeing her own family as controlled by Satan. Her life was given over to raising money for Moon s enormously wealthy and powerful organization and to recruiting others into his cult. During Cathryn s first two months with the Unification Church, she was completely hidden from her family. At first I had some telephone contact with her, but at the direction of her leaders, she lied to me about where she was and what she was doing. Then I received a letter from her saying that she had changed all of her plans and that there was no way that I could contact her by telephone. It was through the help of the police and a private investigator that I found out that she was with the Unification Church and where she was being kept. NBC s Today Show learned of our plight and asked to document our desperate attempt to make contact with Cathryn. We agreed to let them do so, hoping that it would aid us in reaching Cathryn and help educate others about the dangers of cults.. When finally, we were granted permission to see Cathryn, NBC cameras captured the Unification Church members in all their cruelty toward families. It was clear that they had no interest in helping Cathryn be reunited with us. The expose included an interview with Cathryn, revealing her complete control by Unification Church members and her terror of spending even a few minutes with her family away from the Church . I found Cathryn to be a completely changed person: the previously vibrant, curious, loving young woman had become robotic and cold and obsessed with protecting herself against me. In the following weeks, Cathryn was allowed to speak with us on the telephone, but a Unification Church member was always next to her during these calls. She was primed about what to say to me, and after the calls, everything I said was interpreted to prove that I was under the control of Satan. During these conversations she would accuse me of being a terrible mother, often screaming hysterically. Then for 8 weeks I lost all contact with her. Repeatedly I would telephone only to be told that she was away, even when, as I later learned, she had been in the building. On November 11, 1993, our story was aired on NBC, and people all over the world got a very accurate view of the terrible effects of cults on victims and their families. The Unification Church leaders, recognizing the damage to their desired image as a mainstream religion , finally allowed Cathryn to leave its environment of total control and return to her family. By the time Cathryn was released, she was in a state of severe depression. She felt she had no reason to live. She was undernourished and had been deprived of proper sleep. She had trouble forming sentences, she was unable to complete thoughts, she could not smile, she would not let me touch her. With help from cult specialists, Cathryn slowly recovered. It was then that we learned how such an intelligent person could be turned against her family, and against herself. Cathryn s recruitment had been completely deceptive. It wasn t until well into her indoctrination that she even heard Moon s name or the Unification Church mentioned. She was kept surrounded by Unification Church members who systematically prevented her from talking with other new recruits and kept her so active and exhausted she had virtually no time to reflect. Soon she began to develop a dread of the outside world, being taught to believe that she could only survive within the church s confines. Leaving became, literally, unthinkable. Inevitable doubts were stamped out by thought- suppression techniques, including chanting and cold showers. Sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and constant activity kept her in a state of servitude. Outsiders who tried to express concerns about her life were shunned as Satanic, and family members, most concerned of all, were seen as particularly the tools of Satan. Four years later, Cathryn is now in her senior year in college and doing beautifully. We are once again a loving family, and we feel enormously grateful to be together again. As horrific as our ordeal was, our family was lucky. I have received many, many calls from desperate people whose children have been trapped into the Unification Church and remain under its control. The suffering of these people is very much like that of families of POW s and MIA s. Moon would like the Unification Church to be considered a mainstream religion that supports loving families; but its unethical practices demonstrate that it is far from deserving that status. Cynthia Lilly 12/97