Crossing Paths With Reverend Sun Myung Moon

September 3, 2012 by  

It was the seventies. I was taking a leisurely walk through downtown Manhattan. I came upon a construction site with the familiar boards used to protect both the site and passers-by. Something else stood out from the scene, however. As far as I could see down the block there were posters filling every available space. When I was close enough to read I discovered it was announcing the appearance of Reverend Sun Myung Mood. I had never heard about Moon but I was impressed with the PR. After seeing the posters that day, I heard the name again from time to time but I had no interest in seeking him out.

Some weeks later I was walking in a different part of Manhattan. A man walked up to me and engaged me in a conversation on Eastern Philosophy flavored by Christianity. It was a subject I knew well. He invited me to attend a lecture in a building nearby. I had the time, so I said, "Yes." While I was sitting and listening I became aware that the talk was going on for a long time. I heard the speaker invite us to board a bus to go to a different location. Suddenly, my warning signal fired up. I looked for a way out. When I found a door I wasted no time in exiting back into the streets of Manhattan. I felt like I had escaped something. The environment was oppressive. I will not let anything bind me.

It was not until I returned to Virginia that I met a group of people who were known by the name "Moonies." It was through conversations with the smiling people that I learned that I had attended a recruitment rally for the Unification Church (The Moonies). Later I got to know members of the church well. I found them to be loving, generous and supportive. I also took note that they were seductive when it came to the church. I always had to guard my mind. All of them were loyal to Reverend Moon.

Life has its ironies. Many years passed. I was thinking one night that my contributions were rarely acknowledged. There was a call. The Washington Times was presenting me with a humanitarian award before members of Congress. The organization was putting me up in a hotel and presenting me with a check, as well. It was an amazing turn of events but it became more so.

The Congressmen were present, The Washington Times representatives were there but there was someone else there ... Reverend Sun Myung Moon was there. In fact, Moon was the owner of The Washington Times. Before long I was on stage with him. All the awardees joined him for a group picture.

For weeks after the event members of the community tried to recruit me.There was some annoyance that I did not yield. Zen masters are not joiners, not this Zen master.

I saw Reverend Mood again, up close and personal. He invited various ministers to dine with him. He provided the bus. I went but I was wary of his message about being messiah. It seemed he was stressing this point greatly, and tying it into his support of churches and organizations. Apparently, Reverend Moon, a great businessman was worth billions. He did not mind spreading it around. I advised the minister of the church I was associated with to reject the offer of help. The church would have to alter its theology and relinquish control. The minister agreed.

Reverend Moon was certainly generous with his support. He supported Religious and Social causes, African-American institutions and waged war against Communism. He also strengthened many newspapers. Though a lot of people feared him or did not understand what moved him, Reverend Moon believed he was ordained by God. Whatever you believe about Reverend Moon he had a far-reaching impact in the country and beyond. Near me on the Coffee table is the award his organization gave me so many years ago. Hearing Reverend Moon died I remembered the time he touched me, and I am grateful for that memory.


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