Lev Semenov (Russia)
University professor, Ex-Moonie and
My experience within the hierarchy of
the Moon cult
years of expansion in Russia and in
ladies and gentlemen!
spent six and half years in the Moon cult. Having become a member on July 1,
1990 I signed an application of total break-up with the cult on October 14, 1996. In this period of time, I have been promoted from ordinary member all
the way up in the cult hierarchy in the CIS and Baltic countries. On my
numerous public reports after I had left the cult, my audience would most
frequently ask two questions. How I had entered the cult and why I had left
it. Anticipating these questions now, I would like to answer them briefly
in the first part of my report.
June 1990 - being an associate professor at Tver State University -
I was urgently called by the deputy rector who offered me to take part in a
conference in Sofia. Thus, I was officially sent to Bulgaria
to an introductory seminar of the Unification Movement. I considered myself a
Christian, but as a vast number of Soviet people, I wasn’t baptized. So, as I
was not practising Christianity, I certainly wasn’t able to reason and act as a
real Christian. Hence when studying the New Testament I was treating it not
only as the Holy Writ but as any other historical text. It seemed to me that I
could allow for unlimited freedom of interpretation. It explains why, when I
came across a very untraditional treatment of the Bible in the Moon’s followers’
workshop, it seemed to me a curious play of mind. This unusual interpretation
was interesting to me from a Biblical historiography point of view.
second reason was due to the fact that I felt sympathy for dissidents in Soviet
times and disliked the communist ideology. When I learned that Moon was called
«the first (that is, the main) anticommunist on the planet», it had awakened my
deep sympathy for him and a wish to enter his Movement.
within several months, I was appointed a National Educational Department
Advisor, then an Inter-religious Relations Department Director, entered the
Unification Church Board in Russia,
and finally during last two years and half, I was Vice President of this Board.
Twice I was officially offered to be the head of this Board.
did my disenchantment with Moonism start and why did
I delay my break with the cult for so long? The higher I climbed up the
hierarchical ladder, the fewer secrets remained for me in the «inner kitchen»
of the cult. I was discovering the hypocrisy and insincerity of its leaders.
The last “straw” that broke camel’s back was a new task that I was given. The
cult leaders felt Moon’s teaching was deeply alien to Russian cultural
tradition. In order to convince Russians to the contrary, I was given the task
to become the leader of the group of authors. Our mission was to create a book
on the history of Russian culture. In this book, we had to find whatever
possible points of Russian tradition that could be associated with Moon’s
ideas. Russia saw the Orthodox Church as the base for its culture for the whole
Millennium. That is why I started studying the Holy Fathers’ Works. The depth
of their thought amazed me. At the same time, it made clear the primitiveness
of Moon’s theology. These are therefore the complementing answers to the
question why I had decided to quit Moonism.
reason why I had not done it immediately will be seen later. I realized that I
made a mistake and entered a terrible cult. But I understood that I had to
redress a wrong done to my compatriots because during years of my work there, I
could have influenced some of them to enter the cult. Then I decided not just
to leave but also to unmask this totalitarian cult. However, my exposures
wouldn’t have had the same weight without documentary evidence. Therefore, I
was collecting papers and other proof. My high position in the cult made
available many of its secrets to me. Having stayed until late night at the
central office, I have photocopied a lot of papers. So, after I had left the
cult, I used these as proof in the series of open letters, articles, and
reports at different conferences. These papers and material became the base for
my book about the Moon cult, which I am going to finish this year.
is one circumstance, which persuades me that I had chosen the right way to act.
In seven years, which have passed since my first public statement against Moon
and Moonies, they did not attempt to deny any of my accusations. Every
accusation is based on concrete facts and documents that are impossible to
deny. Now let’s get directly to the theme of my report.
is well-known, «the Moon Empire» includes about 200 independent projects -
religious, political, cultural, educational, media, industrial enterprise, etc.
However, all these organizations are controlled by Moon’s trusted people taking
(often privately) prominent positions within the Unification Church
hierarchy which is a stem for all the Unification Movement. The main (if not
the only one) goal of the host of those projects - is to promote Moon’s ideas
and to create an authority among the public worldwide. Moon himself, in a
speech in Korea, in April 2005, «revealed» his «coronation as the King of the world and
Universal Unity»; and it was announced to the Russian Moonies’ gathered in Moscow, July 19, 2005, that Moon and his wife «are the ‘Saviour’, ‘Messiah’, King and Queen
of humankind from now on».
this could have been just another classical case for psychiatry textbook’s
megalomania section. However, Moon and his closest surrounding continue
fulfilling with scaring persistence these plans of world domination - for many
decades. A huge social threat was posed by active penetration of the Moon cult
in many Russian federal ministries or their institutions, including not only
the Ministry of education, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Defense Ministry, and both Houses of the Russian Parliament
- the State Duma and the Federation Council - in the
early 90-s. In some cases, the same situation continues in Russia
list of public officials and well-known politicians involved at different times
and on various levels in Unification Movement events is indeed long and
impressive. It consisted of both former and presidents present at that time,
prime ministers, ministers, prominent parliamentarians, diplomats, political
parties’ leaders, public figures, famous scientists. Among
them - Soviet
(afterwards Russia), USA, UK, Japan, some South American, Bielorussian,
et cetera, politicians. Their direct involvement
in Unification Movement events (mostly gigantic shows) promoted Moon’s global
«peacemaker and unifier» image, whilst letting him, as a cult leader,
camouflage the systematic breach of human rights in respect to ordinary
cult members; that means essentially isolation from family, friends, tough
informational blockade, loss by cultists of their former social status, their
complete financial dependence, depriving them of normal sleep, food
limitations, denying them the free right to choose their own spouse.
on my personal experience of those years, and on documents (including
confidential) which I had access to, due to my position in the “Moon Church”
hierarchy - in Russia, I disclose the nature and methods of Moon’s cult
penetration inside the State, parliamentary, and public structures.
is crucial to understand how Moon’s cult is so successful in involving the
prominent politicians and in penetrating inside higher state institutions. To
clarify this, let’s describe the situation as a whole. As far as I speak mostly
about political component of cult’s activity now, I’ll describe Moon’s projects
in the political realm. I am sorry for the dull monotony of the list. But
hopefully it helps understand something.
The Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, founded in 1982. It focuses on important domestic and foreign policy issues. Among
politicians whose direct participation in some public activities of this
Institute is confirmed documentarily, we see the following personae:
Eugene Rotow – former Director of the U. S. Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency.
Charles M. Lichenstein – former U. S.
Deputy representative to the United Nations.
J. Solargz – member of the U. S. House of
Eduardo Ulibarri –
Editor-in-chief, Costa Rica newspaper «La nacion Jose».
International, founded in 1980. According to Moonies, this organization’s aim
was criticizing Marxism-Leninism, its ideological and political faults, human
rights protection, struggle with totalitarianism, help
in establishing societies of freedom. By the end of 80-s, the CAUSA
International has conducted workshops in more than 30 countries. The similar
goals were pursued by the International Federation for Defeating Communism
organized by Moon in 1960-s.
this case the goal officially advocated by cultists appeared attractive.
However, it reveals the readiness of blatant intrusion in the inner affairs of
countries with political regimes or ideological climates inappropriate for
Moon. This alone sounds alarming and one wonders about the character and
methods and activities of the Moon organizations scattered around the world.
example of such a direction is Moon’s Citizens’ Federation for Motherland
Unification established in 1987. Its official aim is re-unification of South
and North Korea and the creation of a “free and fearing God state”. Moonies didn’t
conceal that they had been constructing House of Prayer for Re-unification and Educational Center for Re-unification “close to 38th parallel”. As is known, here lies the
border between the two Korean states. One cannot deny that regardless of the
attitude to the North Korean regime, such construction works close to border
look dodgy and could be qualified as direct sabotage.
ominous sound the words said by Moon in one of his speeches before his
followers: “The whole world is in my hand, I will conquer and subdue the world…
the time will come for my words to become almost a law”.
look at Russia. Missioners of the Moon cult had started their undercover activities in
Russia back in 1970-s. In those times this consisted of foreign missioners’
sporadic visits to USSR, they were recruiting adherents clandestinely. Since 1983 the Moonies’
penetration tactics had involved insertion in our country of reliable and
experienced members of the cult, specially trained for undercover work. They
were coming as interpreters working for organizations operating jointly with
foreign countries (like Peter Ladschtaetter, Austrian
citizen), foreign language teachers in Moscow institutes (Monica
Kunde, FRG citizen), or businessmen (US
citizen Thomas Lorita) etc.
was the year that marked the Moonies’ shift to overt activities in our country.
In April Moonies have managed to conduct the 11th International Conference for
Mass Media Workers (under cover of their World-wide Association for Mass Media
Workers - and with considerable assistance by the then Novosti
Publishing Agency). During the Conference, Moscow hosted an
impressive descent of totalitarian cult leaders headed by “Reverend” Moon
himself and his fourth wife Hak Ja
Khan Moon. Not only have they actively communicated with the Soviet community
representatives and establishment, but also were granted audience with
April meeting of Moon and Gorbachyov opened the way
for broad and effortless cultists’ penetration in our country. Already in
1990/91 academic year three thousand students and lecturers from Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tver, and other Soviet
Union cities were taken to the USA
for two weeks introduction workshops, the cult covered all the expenses. The
main part of the work with them in America
was thoughtful intensive brainwashing to make them adhere to Moon’s ideas. No
surprise that the first cadres of professional Russian managers for the Moon
cult were recruited from these three thousand people who had visited the States
- Universities did their best to select the best students for the trip.
the same scheme the totalitarian cult tried to attract prominent
representatives of our society elite: the USSR
people’s deputies, scientists, journalists, etc. For example, in December 1990,
23 deputies participated in the American Leadership Conference in Washington,
50 deputies attended the next similar Conference conducted in February 1991,
and the First World-wide Leadership Conference gathered about 200 USSR Supreme
Soviet deputies from all 15 Soviet Republics. Those who visited the USA or the so-called introductory workshops
organized by the Unification Movement, series of which was conducted on a grand
scale by Moonies in ex-Soviet countries’ capitals, quite often have become the
agents of influence by the totalitarian cult, “working off” attention paid to
them and the big sums in dollars spent on them.
course, cultists have boosted their proselyte activities in USSR
territories and later in Russia.
In May 1992 they had succeeded in registering the “Unification Church”
at the Russian Federation Ministry of Justice; in April 1994 was created the
Student Interuniversity Association for the Study of the Principles, and the
Women’s Federation for Peace Worldwide was registered in June 1994. Over
100,000 Russian citizens visited Moonie seminars during 1991-1993. Those
seminars were held in the best Baltic and Crimean health centers.
Mostly high school and University teachers, lecturers, and students were among
those who attended Moonie seminars. Specialized seminars for Russian
Universities Rectors and mass media workers were held in the summer of 1993 in Crimea. Cult leaders planned
organizing special seminars for the Russian Federation Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs Ministry.
a result of the planned cult activity, a certain circle of engaged people had
appeared who were able due to their official or social position to lobby
interests of the Moon cult. From the very onset, Moonies have striven to
establish a bond with the Russian Federation State Committee for Higher
Education. A cultic program for sending dozens of Russian students to study for
free at Bridgeport University (Connecticut, USA) had been used as a convenient ground - Moonies had purchased its
control packet of shares just before that. With all this going on, the Moon
cult paid 80 thousand dollars for a-four year course for each student. Moonie
leaders made a tricky move by allowing the candidates to be selected - guess by
who – the Russian Federation State Committee for
Higher Education! Russia PR office Director gladly reports to his transoceanic
patrons (and employers): “Sending more than 20 students from Russia
to Bridgeport University due to the support of the Committee for Higher Education, we managed to
guarantee them backing our course. We meet Mr. Bratkowsky and Mr. Guriev (former
Vice President for RF State Committee) rather often, and they help us with
invitations and multiple entry visas” (extract from Head of PR office report, February
section d) Committee for Higher Education).
their favorite principle of leaning on «prospective»
members of society, Moonies turned to the Russian Ministry of Education. Quite
soon several people become friendly - ranging from departments staff members to
Vice Minister A.G. Asmolov, responsible for high
schools. With direct support of the Ministry, Moonies managed to conduct
simultaneously over 15 workshops “Spiritual Renewal and High School Education
in Russia” in November 1992. Workshops took place in the best Crimean health centers. 21 people from each 89 Russian Federation subjects have attended those workshops - all sponsored by the cult. At
this workshop cultists pushed forward the infamous course “My World and Me” -
targeted at high schools. This course has been introduced at more than 2000
Russian high schools starting from September 1993. Republican Workshops for
teachers of Tatarstan (Kazan),
Kalmykia (Elista), and
other republics and regions were conducted for mass introduction of this Moonie
course in the schools.
strengthened their positions inside the system of the Education Ministry,
Moonies set out for Russian State force agencies. The General Department for Executing Punishments became
the first victim of their penetration. With the support of Colonel Dolgikh - the then Head for GUIN MVD RF - Moonies conducted
several events on a federal scale. Introducing one of those workshops (in Obninsk, on July 7, 1993) Colonel Dolgikh
claimed in a clear-cut military fashion addressing to Vice Heads of detention
camps and Directors of schools attached to them, that from now on all
pedagogical work must be conducted … according to Moon.
subordinates were fast to react. In a short while, Moonies had the opportunity
to conduct several workshops for deviant juveniles, their parents and staff
members in those correctional institutions, Moscow regional Iksha correctional institution has become one of the favorite grounds for cultists. In 1994, Moonies actively
took part in the Home Affairs Ministry program «Teacher of the Year» at Novotroitsk correctional institution, Mariy-El Republic. In 1995, similar event had taken place in Kamyshin
correctional institution, in the Volgograd region.
introductory workshops were conducted for Home Affairs Ministry officers in
1994. The cult leaders were happy to receive at their disposal the second
section of methodological book “From experience of learning and pedagogical
work in correctional institutions schools. Part 3” issued by General Department
for Executing Punishments and Republican Institution for MVD officers Improving
Qualification in 1995. Moonies titled their section “My World and Me - The Path
to the Heart of an Inmate”.
goal desired by Moon - who had created the gigantic network of his “World
Empire” - was world domination, the real political power in bigger geographic
areas - the bigger the better. A.V. Zhukov writes in abstract to his PhD theses
on Moonies’ activities in Russia:
“the main strife of Moonies’ organization leaders remains the struggle for
spiritual, economical, and political power worldwide…” (p. 13). The direct
confirmations of Moon’s clandestine thoughts are his own confessions. Already
in his speech “The History and Our Responsibility” delivered on July 16, 1978, Moon promises his followers: “In the future, the whole world will
depend on us”.
this in mind, the concrete moves made by Moonies in Russia
look scary. After the Home Affairs Ministry, they turned to the Russian
Federation Ministry of Defense. Thus, some higher
rank officers of Military Academies and representatives of different military state organizations - such as
Association for military, political, and historical research, “Army and
Society” association, Federation for Peace and Concord -
came under the influence of Moon’s cult. Thus, the Moonies’ Conference devoted
to elaboration of special learning program and textbook on so-called “Military
ethics” for students of military academies has been conducted at the Military
University MO RF (ex-Military Political Academy) on October 1994.
Inspired by the successful start of penetration into the Russian Army,
Moonie leaders in Russia report to their transoceanic boss about the favorable situation for the further penetration into the
army structures: “Religious boom in this country has created the wide field for
activity of the Fund (i.e. “Inter-religious Educational Fund”). One of the examples is introducing the post for Army officers
responsible for relationships between the Army and religious organizations.
Such post exists in the Russian Army since July 1994, with some 90 officers
appointed. But none of them clearly understands how to execute this duty. The
same post will be introduced later for lower ranks, and hundreds of officers
will need instruction and education in the area of religion and inter-religious
relations” (Report on inter-religious work in Russia
in 1995, written on November 1994, section 4). The cited fragment of the
Moonies’ report makes one think not only about the skillful
use of the current situation, but the striking familiarity with inner Army
November 1994, the Moon’s Unification Church took part in a big Moscow Conference organized by the aforementioned
Federation for Peace and Concord and Association for military, political, and historical research. The
invitation to take part in the Conference has arrived at the International
Religious Fund addressed to P. Ladschtaedtter. It was
an official letter from the Federation and the Association signed by their
Heads. Following Conference outcomes, the book “Religions and Safety of Russia”
has been issued; were an article by the Moon’s church leaders in Russia
has been published. They tried to impose on the military their own model for
spiritual feeding of the soldiers, which supposed direct participation of
Moonie cultic preachers.
indicative is the letter sent by the Army and Society Association to Moon
personally as a commemoration of his church’s 40 years anniversary celebrated
by cultists on May 1994. I will cite some remarkable details of this message
distinguished by an extremely loyal attitude to Moonism’s
leader, and signed by the President of the Association, General-Major Tchaldymov. The General stressed that Association, which he
headed “supported the Russian Government in reforming the Army in the spirit of
perestroika ideas started by Mikhail Gorbatchyov”.
The following phrases deserve to be reproduced verbatim: “Having been
introduced to ideas of your teaching by representatives of your Church in more
detail, we have found our basic moral goals consonant with yours. On March
26-29 me and my colleague - the Head of «Army and Religion» research center - have been given the honor
of participating in the Second Conference for Peace Worldwide (that is, Moon
had covered all the expenses for their stay in the US for the Conference).
Conference outcomes and your ideas’ discussion allows for hope to join efforts
with the Unification Church in the name of values common to all mankind”. There’s no need to
comment on those statements by fortunately only a few representatives of the
then Russian Generals.
Moonie missioners approached the structures of the Foreign Affairs Ministry as
well. For example, the RF Foreign Affairs Ministry Diplomatic Academy has
conducted the International student Conference on leadership jointly with the
CARP Moonie youth student organization on February 1995, at Moscow State University.
The Cult has sponsored Russian, US, Chinese, North and South Korean,
and Japanese students’ participation in it. The tradition of bond between elite
Russian Universities, which grow future Russian diplomats, and the Korean-American cult has
put down roots and is still alive. There is information on the Internet about
Moon’s upcoming visit to Moscow. Some well-known professors, like Konstantin Dolgov and Vladimir Petrovsky,
lecturing at those elite Universities had taken part in the International
Leadership Conference conducted by Moon in New York
on 10-14 September 2005, and then had read their reports at the Moscow Moonies’
office right after Jack Corley, the big cultic functionary.
only has Moon’s cult been purposefully and consistently penetrating inside the
ministries and state bodies, but it also has been systematically advancing
towards higher representative bodies of Russia
and its Presidency. Of course, here Moonies couldn’t get the biggest figures,
but nevertheless they have managed to involve some medium range officials who
served as the source of effective intelligence and as agents of the cults
influence, lobbying their interests; which have quite justified cultists’
expenses. I’ve already published some facts about involvement of Federation
Council Consultant, few deputies of the RF State Duma
and their assistants, member of the RF President Administration Analytical Center for general politics, Council members for religious
expertise, Professors of religious study, legal experts, and some experienced
lawyers, functionaries of all sorts of human rights watch organizations, and
other volunteers - who nevertheless mostly acted on commercial grounds.
Moon cult has been actively penetrating inside Russian federal structures -
this fact illustrates the hugely dangerous potential of this totalitarian cult.
course, Moonies paid much attention to media, struggling for their positions in
Russia. In this respect, very indicative are their bonds with the Media Empire
of Gusinsky. In my publications I have already stated
about Moonies’ leaders’ contacts with Mr. Gusinsky as
the MOST bank President, and about their contacts with Russian Video Company
notorious for lawsuits. At that time Moonies were regularly broadcasting
programs (on Tuesdays - for one or two hours) for Moscow and neighboring regions due to agreement with the then
operating private Resonans radio station. Cultists
planned to expand their radio broadcast to cover the European part of Russia
or even the whole ex-USSR territory. The far-reaching plans of the totalitarian
cult included creating its own Moscow based TV station with powerful modern equipment for satellite TV
broadcast for “the whole ex-Soviet Union territory”. There were also ideas of
creating a Russian project, which would have cooperated with similar Moon’s
enterprises in the fields of TV, video and radio already operating in Japan and
the USA (a report is available which was sent to Moon’s New York Headquarters
about PR-activity in Russia for the time span of December 1992 - February
1993). There always were people ready to do favors
for Moon in the Soviet and then Russian central television, in the biggest
printed media and publishing houses (in the early 90-s among them were such
serious companies as Izvestiya, Literaturnaya
publishing house - former Politizdat).
to strengthening their positions in power and force bodies, in the mass media,
having the necessary support from Moscow scientists and lawyers, Moon’s cult
tried to become a coordinator of all totalitarian cults active in Russia. I
have passed a revealing paper some time ago - a letter from Vladimir Kuropyatnik, a leader of Scientology Church Moscow branch,
which he had sent to Moon personally on February 27, in 1996. The letter is
dedicated to cooperation between Moonies and scientologists. I’ll cite one
passage from this message: “We are adamant, extremely adamant, and we will
achieve our goals - despite anything. Your goals - are ours likewise”.
about the Moonies’ activity harm to Russian society, we see the threat to
national safety on three levels: individual, family, and society at large. I
won’t be stopping on each of the three levels now, I’ll just state briefly that
human personality becomes dissolved and loses its individual features, turning
into a typical “Moonie” under systematical cultic
brainwashing. Such «zombified» executor is ready for
mindlessly accepting any directive and implementing any order of totalitarian
cult leader. A hooked person loses all his or her former social bonds, falls
out of professional activity quite often, becomes totally dependent on cultic
leaders who even choose a spouse for him or her.
have caused much harm to many Russian families. And many young people have left
home and their parents under the influence of cultic propaganda. This has led
to creating self-organized public parents’ committees for saving youth. Those
parents - whose children came under fake sympathy influence of cultists - have
once heard from their children that they were just “physical parents”, whereas
“Reverend” Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon were their “true parents”. Not less
troublesome cases for the parents happened when their children studying at the
Universities were abandoning their studies - sometimes just before graduation.
Many of those young people abandoned both studies and their parents, leaving
families for the Moonie “centers”. Not only parents
were losing their children, but young men were leaving their brides as well.
less is the scale of Moonie expansion for the Russian society as a whole.
Moonies have come to Russia in early 90-s, ready to fill in the “ideological gap”, which appeared
after the breakdown of the former ideology. Profiting of the people’s natural
thirst for spirituality of which they were deprived for a long seventy years,
Moon’s missioners started invading this “market”, relying on his Empire’s
multimillion dollar power and using the whole arsenal of influence methods
elaborated by cultists during years of their existence outside Russia, feeling
sort of “spiritual colonizers”.
surprise that the aforementioned “Principle” has presented modern Russian
readers (children and grandchildren of those who had paid with their blood and
life for victory over fascism in the Second World War) the following
“historical discovery” being an organic part of the new “messiah’s” teaching:
the Second World War was a battle of “Heavenly troops” represented by the USA,
Great Britain and France with “Satanic forces” - that is Germany, Japan and
Italy. What has been said about the Russian peoples’ contribution in defeating
the Nazi beast? Just that the Soviet
Union had “happened to be on the Allies”
side, led by the United
I’d like to hope that all these facts cast light on
Moonie activities, methods, and reveal true nature their action. This activity
is aimed at world dominance. Of course, this maniac Moon’s idea is
doomed. But this doesn’t lessen the real danger of the cults’ penetration
inside different countries state bodies.