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View Diary: Interview with Author John Gorenfeld (218 comments)

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  •  After Jonestown (8+ / 0-)

    Yeah, you're exactly right.

    After Jonestown, the media wanted to know if Moon would lead the next mass suicide. When that didn't happen, they said, "oh, OK," and began to lose interest. (Members of the church were reported to be trained, however, in wrist-slashing techniques.)

    Moon went behind bars in 1984 for felony tax evasion and obstruction of justice. When he got out, he launched a huge PR campaign, with help from Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye and other Christian Right leaders, to re-brand himself a victim of American religious persecution.

    By then, the media had mostly lost interest. A missing white woman led to a PR disaster in 1992--the Today Show followed the heartbroken family of Cathryn Mazer, who had joined the cult. Her mom and brother had to hire a private eye to find Cathryn. They were filmed calling up to this dormitory in Long Island, for her to come out.

    Well, the Moonies decided they couldn't afford this kind of liability if they were going to continue to work in Washington. Their priorities have changed, and you don't hear so much about recruitment of white, middle-class kids. Instead, much of the focus is international. Millions of dollars are harvested from lonely Japanese widows in a high-pressure sales scam known as the "spiritual sales."

    There are literally 300 lawyers in Japan handling these cases, and the highest court in the land has affirmed the Unification Church's responsibility for this predatory behavior.

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