‘I was a Moonie cult leader’

New Religious Movements

MLHU writes: Steven Hassan spent two-and-a-half years being ‘brainwashed’ by the Rev Sun Myung Moon’s controversial Unification Church. This is his story: Stephen Hassan the “Sheep” who considered himself ‘an independent thinker’, who ironically became a leader! From the British newspaper The Guardian.

For someone who actually considered himself to be strong willed, who from research was supposedly from a good family network, it is somewhat confusing as to how easily someone could persuade him into seeing his family as Satan and being told to give up his life and money.

Does this go to show how vulnerable he was or was he just weak minded?  Perhaps like animals in the Serengeti we humans too seek out the weaker more vulnerable prey, stalk for a while, test the water, and then pounce! In the article we read of three women and Hassan as a 19 year old student, was this a coincidence or done on purpose, was he an easy target?

Perhaps even, this young man was just prepared to go along with these women for his own gratification as the three women he met never discussed the need for celibacy (as he says in his article), so sex in my opinion was clearly on his mind!  Was Hassan’s own underlying hidden, perhaps even unconscious, agenda how he can get these women into bed if he goes along with them? Seen in this way the prey becomes the predator in a sense. However, it seems Hassan became too entangled in his own plot and thus a victim to the cause without any gratification.

The interesting question to support my theory would be what if three young men had ‘propositioned’ Hassan into becoming a member of this movement, would he have actually got himself into this two and a half year mess?  The definitive answer in my mind is no, he would not.  This is very clear from the article and what Hassan states about getting a date and his discussion of the women not having mentioned being celibate, and further into his entanglement him finding out that, who you can have sex with is decided by an higher authority.  Is this why he continued to stay so long? Did he ever get to sleep with any of the women in I wonder?

A feminist may say that perhaps if Hassan had not let his emotions influence him then he may have kept his bank account and maintained his close relationship with his family. However, was it this hormonal type of thinking that eventually led this supposed independent thinker eventually become a leader and thus an independent thinker?

Is this cult movement just a money making racket that demands people give up all they have and all they know in return for working 24-7 while paying someone else for the privilege? Or is it purely about deception? Irving Hexham suggests that “cult members use unintelligible jargon, as when they speak plain English, they don’t use our languages in quite the same way we d o.” I suppose the answer to this question lies in further research.


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