A Summer With the Moonies

March 1988By Thomas W. Case

Thomas W. Case is a graduate student in Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. This is the second installment in a two-part series.

When I joined the Unification Church I had no idea it was the Reverend Moon’s organization I was joining. I had simply decided to stick around after a seminar and see what would develop among a pleasant little group of people who called them­selves the Family. I thought this “family” was something local, enthusiastic, and intent on some­how fostering love in a world gone rotten with selfish individualism. I took Sybil for my “spiritual parent.” She was an extraordinarily vivacious wom­an with great brown eyes who had left her group and come over and talked to me during the semi­nar. It was her overwhelming enthusiasm (and my immediate attraction to her) that tipped the scales in favor of this new and seemingly hopeful adven­ture.

The morning after the training session (we called them training sessions once we were inside) I was sitting on the couch in the living room of the Dana Street house, home of the “Oakland Fami­ly.” Sybil bounced in and sat down next to me and fixed me with those wonderful brown eyes and said, “What are you going to do?” “Well,” I said, “I think I’ll just hang around awhile and relax and get a feel for the atmosphere, and uh, I don’t know.” I shrugged.

“It doesn’t work that way.” She was smiling when she said this, but I was a little taken aback. I wanted a free ride for a while. Then I thought: these people really move, they really zing out and do it. Loafing is obviously not where it’s at with these folks. I decided I liked the idea.

“Well, O.K. Is there something I can do? Do you have a job or anything? If you have a job for me to do, I’d be happy to do it.”

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