Hundreds of parents from across the country brought their case against Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and other “cults” to Washington, D. C., last month. They jammed into a Senate caucus room for a meeting arranged by Republican Senator Robert Dole of Kansas. Here they addressed representatives of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Labor Department, the Postal Service, and the Federal Trade Commission.

The parents asked about possible violations of the tax-exempt status of the religious groups. Some wondered whether deceptive fund-raising practices of the groups are subject to FTC regulations. Youthful ex-members of cults related their experiences. And psychologists reported alarming findings in their studies of members and former members. But deep down, the main question was: “Can you help us get our children back?”

There were no assurances or clear-cut answers from the government officials. For the most part they merely advised persons with a complaint to put it into writing along with documentation and mail it to the appropriate agency.

The conference grew out of a meeting last year between Dole and one of his constituents, Mrs. Jean Tuttle, a parent who had “lost” a child to one of the cults. Back home, Mrs. Tuttle helped to organize a letter-writing and petition campaign. Armed with a petition bearing 14,000 names and with hundreds of letters inquiring about the activities of the Unification Church, Dole set up the informal hearing. A few other congressmen and a number of congressional staffers listened in, while more than 100 of Moon’s followers stood quietly at the rear of the room.

A week before the meeting, three dozen representatives of several parental anti-cult organizations demonstrated in front of the White House. They were led by San Diego-based Ted Patrick, a self-styled “deprogrammer” who says he has “rescued” hundreds of young people from the cults. Deprogramming involves removing a member from the confines of his religious group (it usually requires stealth and force), detaining him, and bombarding him with provocative questions and arguments until he “comes out of it.” The idea, says Patrick, is to get him to begin thinking independently. Once that happens, he says, the rest is easy; the member sees how he has been misled and exploited.

When he began deprogramming individuals about five years ago Patrick charged only for his expenses. Now there’s a fee for his service, usually between $1,500 and $2,000, and he seems to have all the business he can handle. But Patrick insists he also handles many charity cases. He is out on bail or appeal bond from jurisdictions in at least three states where he was prosecuted on illegal imprisonment charges. If his appeals fail he could spend the next two or three years in jail.

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A network of deprogrammers, some of them trained by Patrick, has developed, and this is a source of increasing woe to the religious groups, especially the Unification Church. UC president Neil Salonen claims that sixty-five of his members were “kidnapped” last year but that “most of them return to the church despite their horrifying ordeal, threats, and continued intimidation.”

Salonen protested, apparently to no avail, Dole’s sponsorship “of a meeting seemingly organized to discredit the church and its founder, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.” Just prior to the meeting on Capitol Hill the group ran full-page endorsements of Moon by parents of present members.

Several interesting point were raised by the anti-Moon forces at the Dole meeting. Quoting Moon’s own words from a training manual, psychologist George Swope—an American Baptist minister—underscored the UC’s political aims. They amount to no less than the subjugation of the entire world to a coming Korean-born messiah (Moon’s description fits himself). The plan is to start with the United States. With 8,000 followers in fifty states, “we can do anything with Senators and congressmen,” Moon was quoted as saying. “My dream,” he was further quoted, “is to organize a religious political party” that will field a theocratic leader to rule the world.

One youthful ex-member alleged that the UC’s mass marriages (in which Moon matches up the partners) are intended to circumvent America’s immigration laws. Foreigners are being recruited, he suggested, to help with Moon’s political plans.

Rabbi Maurice Davis of White Plains, New York, who has helped to organize an anti-Moon parents’ group, quoted Moon as recommending that three pretty girls be assigned to each Senator in order to gain political leverage.

Ex-members told how they raised money for Moon’s church, using front names (One World Crusade, for instance) and false stories (the selling of candles, candy, and dried flowers for nonexistent drug programs and nonexistent programs for poor children).

Martha Lewis, a New Hampshire young person who spent nearly three years in the UC said she was taught that two wrongs make a right. Because Satan deceived God’s children, the “Moonies” (as UC members are called by outsiders) are justified in deceiving Satan’s children, a practice known as “heavenly deception.”

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Cynthia Slaughter of suburban Dallas said she averaged more than $100 daily in her fundraising activities while a member. Told “to use my fallen nature” to get money, she said she found bars to be especially productive.

Rabbi Davis noted that with only 1,000 members averaging $100 daily, the UC’s take would be $36 million a year. (Moon claims 30,000 followers in the United States, of whom one-fifth are “hard-core.”)

Some parents told Dole they are looking for legislative (reform of tax exemptions and the like) and judicial (extend parental rights) relief to cope with the Moon group. If they don’t get it, they made it clear that deprogramming—which some of them dislike—is all they have left.

Kathryn Kuhlman: Dying To Self

Evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman looked out at her audience at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California, and said, “Some of you will never know what I’m talking about.” Her eyes glistened and a tear spilled onto her cheek. To have peace with God, she said, one must intentionally “die to self, to all self ambition, until you are only living for Jesus.”

The appeal was part of a brief sermon she preached last August after allegations involving her handling of finances and purported use of hard liquor were aired in the press. The charges were disclosed in connection with a $430,000 lawsuit filed against her by a former business manager (see August 8, 1975, issue, page 35). In her talk, Miss Kuhlman told of her own suffering and anguish in learning to “die to self.”

On February 20 the struggle ended when she died in a Tulsa hospital of a heart ailment. “She just seemed to give up,” commented a close friend.

The lawsuit was settled out of court, and the participants agreed not to comment further on any of the issues surrounding it, but observers close to Miss Kuhlman say that her health suddenly deteriorated about the time the allegations came to the attention of the press and that afterward she was not the same emotionally.

She was hospitalized in Tulsa last summer and in Los Angeles in November and December for what were described as “minor heart flare-ups.” She entered the Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa again on December 27 and the next day underwent surgery to replace a heart valve and repair a tendon.

Miss Kuhlman was born about 1913 in the village of Concordia, Missouri. Her father, the mayor, was a Baptist, and her mother was a Methodist. She became a Christian at age 14 during a Methodist revival meeting in town and was baptized in a Baptist church where she retained her official membership for the rest of her life. About two years later she dropped out of high school to become a traveling evangelist. Then she settled down with a storefront congregation in Denver. Within three years she was filling a 2,000-seat sanctuary.

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Records show that she was married in 1938 to Texas evangelist Burroughs Waltrip. The ceremony was conducted by a Methodist minister in Mason City, Iowa. Because Waltrip left his wife and family to wed Miss Kuhlman, controversy broke out in the Denver church, and the flock scattered. Not long afterward the marriage dissolved.

In 1946 Miss Kuhlman was preaching in Franklin, Pennsylvania, when she had an experience in which she “surrendered completely to the Holy Spirit.” A healing occurred in the audience, and from then on she centered her ministry on the work of the Holy Spirit.

A dispute erupted in the Franklin church, and Miss Kuhlman moved to Pittsburgh, where in 1947 she rented the municipal Carnegie Auditorium for weekly rallies. These were moved later to First Presbyterian Church.

At the time of her death Miss Kuhlman was seen and heard on about fifty radio stations and sixty television stations. For years she traveled back and forth across the continent with the message of the saving and healing power of God. She was virtually a commuter between rallies in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

Many people claimed they were healed as they listened to her preach, and at times Miss Kuhlman had medical authorities on the platform to verify the healings. There were detractors, however. Some skeptics alleged that many of the cures were of self-diagnosed ailments, and one doctor wrote a critical book after studying twenty-five persons whose healings at a 1973 service did not hold up.

Miss Kuhlman herself never guaranteed that a cure would take place. She did suggest specific miracles God was performing at her meetings, and she exhorted the affected individuals to identify themselves. If a healing did occur, she insisted that it was of God alone, not of any power she possessed. She told CHRISTIANITY TODAY in a 1973 interview that her main concern was “the salvation of souls.” Divine healing, she asserted, “is secondary to the transformation of a life.”

Sunday Brunch At Jerry’S Place

The following story is based in part on a report filed by correspondent Watson Spoelstra, a former Detroit sports writer now active in the professional baseball chapel program.

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President Ford, describing it as his kind of White House function, came right out and said it: “No more outstanding representation of athletic prowess has ever been in this house before.”

Yet there were no introductions of the scores of Super Bowl personalities, World Series participants, and other athletes and coaches among the 200 guests at a “professional athletes prayer brunch” in the East Room. Instead, eight speakers representing seven sports stood up and told how they had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and now possessed the power of God in their lives.

President and Mrs. Ford seemed moved by the presentation. “What you said and how you said it,” commented the President, “meant a great deal to all of us. You are special because of your faith in God and your love for him.” Afterward, he and the First Lady gave all the athletes signed copies of the Living Bible.

The brunch was arranged by evangelist Billy Zeoli, head of Gospel Films and a close friend of Ford. Before he became President, Ford—who starred at center on the University of Michigan football team in the early 1930s—teamed up with Zeoli to sponsor a Capitol Hill luncheon for top players and officials following the annual National Prayer Breakfast. The brunch was a souped-up version of the earlier get-togethers.

Upon arrival at the White House, the guests were greeted with orange juice. After some mixing they made their way through a reception line (Ford sometimes introduced sports greats to his wife and without coaching outlined their accomplishments) to a spread of baked ham, grilled tomato stuffed with chicken and mushrooms, asparagus tips, and coconut pie. (Coach Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl champs, sat at the President’s table; losing coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys sat at Mrs. Ford’s.) Small talk, spiced with plenty of humor, centered on games and sports figures.

Ford said that as a boy he’d always wanted to excell in sports. Even now, he said, he turns to the sports pages before reading the front pages of newspapers, partly because he wants to keep abreast of the sports world and partly because the sports pages have a better chance of being correct. Everybody applauded.

The program was put together by Eddie Waxer, long active in sports chapel work. “Our prayer was that Christ only would be glorified,” he commented afterward. “I feel that occurred.”

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Elvin Hayes, the Washington basketball whiz, in the opening prayer thanked the Lord “for the opportunity to honor your name in this place.” Dave Boyer, who lettered in fine arts rather than the brawny kind, sang of love for Jesus and America.

Phillies pitcher Jim Kaat related how he committed his life to Christ many years ago. “Others have found this same peace, purpose, and direction through our chapel program,” he reported. “God’s Spirit is moving in baseball.” When he described a religious fanatic as “someone who knows Jesus better than you do,” the President chuckled along with the others.

Norm Evans, Miami lineman, and Calvin Jones, Denver defensive back, told of spiritual growth in football through chapels and midweek Bible-study groups. “When we say ‘yes’ to God,” said Evans, “we discover blessing far more important than being world champion or all pro.”

Madeline Manning Jackson of Cleveland is not a pro but an Olympic 800-meter gold-medal winner in the last Olympics who will be trying for more this summer at Montreal. “My thing is running for Jesus,” she said simply. “Last year I talked to all Russia on television about the Lord’s goodness.”

The women’s view also came from Janet Lynn Salomon, the ice skating champion from Rockford, Illinois. Other speakers were Dennis Ralston, tennis; Kyle Rote, Jr., soccer; and Rik Massengale, golf. Massengale, who reported on the Tuesday night Bible study on the golf tour, gave his personal testimony and told how he had gone from 127th to twenty-fifth on golf’s money-winning list after accepting Christ. Sports writers Red Smith and Dick Schaap had a field day with that comment.

Elvin Hayes rushed from the White House to outscore Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the Bullets. And Phil Esposito, the National Hockey League’s greatest scorer until he was shipped to the losing New York Rangers, hurried back to New York and scored two goals and an assist in a 5 to 1 victory over Kansas City.

It was a day for winners.

Deferred Income

The economic crunch of 1974–75, with double-digit inflation and a tight money market, caused the red ink to flow in many U. S. businesses, not the least of them church-related ventures. Money woes hit church retirement and healthcare projects especially hard, forcing more than a few to go under or to totter on the brink of bankruptcy.

Among them is an ailing foundation set up and operated by ministers (and some lay persons) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in southern California. Financial problems of the Churchman’s Foundation and its five retirement-care facilities are, unfortunately, by no means unique; the story line could be repeated across the country with different names and different faces.

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But what left a particularly sour taste in the mouths of many of the 250 persons who invested a total of more than $1 million in unregistered Churchman’s certificate loans was the fact that when a severe cash-flow problem developed, the officers and directors of the foundation seemed “to vanish into the woodwork,” as one disgruntled widow put it.

As pieced together from interviews with a number of the investors (many of them elderly people who had little money to spare but who trusted their church leaders) and directors (who would speak only anonymously), the story went this way:

Last spring, Jean Hosokawa of Pasadena, a teacher who had invested $7,500, asked to withdraw some of her money in order to send her daughter to Disciples-related Chapman College. Her letters requesting withdrawal were not answered. Six weeks later she learned indirectly through her pastor that the foundation was in severe financial trouble. But repeated phone calls to the foundation office elicited no help: an employee gave no information and said officers and directors were unavailable.

At the same time that Mrs. Hosokawa was trying to retrieve her money, the foundation was soliciting church members for new investments, promising an 8.25 per cent return on five-year loans. All the while, the officers and directors knew that several of the Churchman’s facilities were in serious financial jeopardy.

Mrs. Hosokawa, a long-time member of the Christian Church, said she invested savings from eight years of part-time teaching. But at an investors’ meeting last October she learned chances of recovering anything were practically nil, and she “just about crumpled.”

“I feel they shouldn’t have advertised in church papers,” she said. “We felt that if the money wasn’t safe with the church, then it wasn’t safe anywhere.… What really got us was that they couldn’t give us any honest statement of true conditions—there was no response to our letters or calls.”

One director, a top official in the denomination’s regional office, explained that a basic problem had been that a loan for the projected “keystone” project of the foundation, in Las Vegas, fell through. That project was expected to keep afloat the others, which included retirement high-rises, apartments, and an extended-care hospital. Tight money, inflation, and poor management then combined to bring on collapse, he said.

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Another director said he quit the board quickly when he learned foundation officers were continuing to accept investment loans in which the proceeds were used for current operations. Not long afterward, however, the foundation did refuse to accept more investment money.

Nobody seemed to know last month what would happen next—if anything. The foundation’s attorney said he had been holding meetings with some former officers, but many have moved away, are without funds, and can’t get to meetings. A seven-person steering committee, headed by clergyman Wilbur Parry of Camile Christian Church in Santa Ana (the church invested about $20,000 in the foundation), was waiting to hear from the federal Securities and Exchange Commission and the state Corporations Commission, to which it turned over data last November. Investigations may take several more months.

And the denomination? There are no plans to step in, declared a highly placed official, “though it’s a great concern to a great many people.” The Southern California-Southern Nevada unit of the church commissioned the directors in 1959, but the foundation corporation is a separate entity. The Christian Church has no legal responsibility for debts of the foundation, its attorney says.

A director, acknowledging that foundation officers had been advised by the attorney not to talk, said the most frustrating thing about the foundation’s misfortunes had been “lack of communication” to investors.

Church involvement doesn’t assure an investor that his money is safe, cautioned Richard Johnson, an investment counselor with the Lee Bernard Company of Pasadena, which specializes in fund-raising for evangelical accounts. “The bottom line on church-related investments is that you’d like to give the organization the money if you could because you’re sold on its work. But an investment implies income, and you’ve got to follow the ‘prudent man rule’: what would the prudent man do with these funds?”


Bilalian Muslims

Black members of the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) can now salute the American flag, engage in electoral politics, dress in a more self-styled manner, and even serve as members of the armed forces “to defend the American government against aggressors.”

And what’s more, the once-excommunicated Malcolm X, whose death has sometimes been attributed to Black Muslims, has now been posthumously accepted back into the fold, his holy title “Shabazz” restored, and a temple named after him.

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All these changes were officially to be explained at the group’s annual Savior’s Day Convention in Chicago late last month by the new head of the Nation of Islam, the Honorable Wallace Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad, who died last March. The convention marks the anniversary of Wallace’s first year at the helm. More than 15,000 attend the conclave each year to celebrate founder W. D. Fard as the “savior.”

“For us to be alive we must be changing and growing,” says Abdul Farrakhan, national spokesman for the Black Muslims. “Unless you are changing and growing you are dead.” Once the rumored rival to accede to the “throne” upon Elijah’s death, Farrakhan has been Wallace Muhammad’s chief representative ever since Wallace himself brought him to the Chicago headquarters office.

In another dramatic move, the mosque Farrakhan once headed in New York’s Harlem—the second largest in the country, preceded only by the Chicago center—has changed its name from Muhammad’s Temple of Islam No. 7 to Malcolm-Shabazz Mosque No. 7. The name change was officially approved by Wallace, signaling that Elijah Muhammad’s name will no longer adorn every temple of the group. Others of the eighty local temples are expected to opt for a name change.

These follow closely two other radical moves taken earlier by the Nation of Islam. Immediately upon taking leadership last year Wallace announced that whites would be welcomed as members (though none reportedly has joined yet). Later he said the preferred term would no longer be Negroes or blacks but “Bilalians.” This new name for Afro-Americans reflects emphasis upon a historical African convert to Islam named Bilal, who later became the “first muzzein” or minister of the Arabian Prophet Muhammad.

The name of the group’s weekly newspaper has also been changed from Muhammad Speaks to Bilalian News.

In other revisions, dress codes for both men and women have been relaxed (women may now wear pants, for example), as have hair-style codes. Members are being urged to register to vote and to enter political office. Plans are for the Nation to produce commercial movies, once a taboo. And jazz is now played in temples before some gatherings.

For the first time, a woman has been designated as a “minister.” She is Sharolyn X, an instructor in the Chicago University of Islam, who holds graduate degrees from Rutgers. Another woman, Fatimah Ali, formerly a professor at Purdue, has been named a regional director. Noted writer Sonia Sanchez (her name has been changed to Laila Mannun) now heads the Office of Human Development, which is producing new textbooks for forty schools sponsored by the Muslims.

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In other developments, an Accident and Mishap Committee has been formed to set up food and clothing banks in every major city, a Social Censor Committee has originated to monitor practices of both blacks and whites in leadership roles in the ghettos, and a college scholarship program has been set up.

Theologically, the Nation is also undergoing change. The traditional apocalyptic language no longer is given political or racial implications, and Wallace is moving the group closer to orthodox Islam, at the same time incorporating more Christian terminology into his teachings. The Nation of Islam is now officially designated the “Body-Christ,” for instance. For the first time, the group also last year celebrated its Ramadan (month of fasting) in conjunction with other Islamic groups throughout the country.

All of these changes appear to be paying off in terms of increasing popularity. Since he has taken charge, membership is up 40 per cent (though official totals are still secret), Wallace states. Circulation of the Bilalian News now stands at 950,000 weekly—up 12 per cent.


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