The final episode of How To Become A Cult Leader is about bringing to the table all the playbook rules and merging them into one singular cult leader who managed to follow all of them and was successful in executing them. His execution worked in his favor for years later; his legacy still sustains him, and the man is considered a spiritual leader of the highest order.
Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Unification Church, ran the organization for sixty years without any hitch or scandal rocking the organization to its core. The followers of the Unification Church, also known as Moonies, remain an influential religious group long after the death of their leader. The group was functioning in such a manner that people from the outside had no reason to doubt their intentions, even though there was corruption that was not brought to the forefront.
The saga of Sun Myung Moon started when he was hardly 15- or 16 years old when the man claimed that Jesus appeared to him and chose him to fulfill his mission of imparting family values to the group. The group was also known for carrying out mass church marriages, which led to their leader claiming that Jesus failed to get married, and it was Moon who was assigned by the Messiah to facilitate this blessed act on a large scale.
The Unification Church only worked because the 1970s were the age of cults in the United States of America. Every nook and cranny of the country had a running cult that would cater to a diverse group of people. The Unification Church catered to a conservative group that believed in a strong familial system and was against communism. There were congregations and events in thousands that were being carried out all around the country. Carrying out such large-scale events that mirror rock concerts will remind viewers how Jim Jones did the same to attract a crowd to his People’s Temple. The difference here would be that the moonies were not manipulated into creating hysteria. The Unification Church carried out its manipulation subtly.
This group turns out to be the smartest of the lot because they choose to take ‘the slow and steady wins the race’ approach to seek power and wanting to create a larger than life image of themselves. Their followers in the Unification Church were loyal to the core, and they also believed in carrying out any activity that had God’s purpose behind it. The cult status of this group is debatable because, to date, it is still considered a sect of the church in the USA.
The makers of this documentary, just like in all the previous episodes, did not discuss the repercussions of mental health ailments that led to these men projecting themselves to be larger than life and having delusional ideas of how the world is. The same could be said of Sun Myung Moon and his followers, who would follow his doctrines and ideals without questioning the logic behind them. The experts state that the moonies love bombed the recruits, and they were made to attend the divine principle lecture that will allow them to understand the fundamentals of what Jesus said from the leader’s point of view. This seemed like the only way to sustain the members for a longer period, and it kind of worked because the Unification Church is still relevant.
The church invested in producing tea, weapons, hotels, dance troupes, golf courses, and a food company called True World Foods. If you notice, all the money that was put aside by the church for some to return on investment was only catering to a section of American society that could afford such entities, especially hotels and golf courses. The church was quick to convert its organization into a religion for tax evasion purposes. Such organizations are only formed to save and invest capital. Indulging in tax evasion would mean this church is not willing to put in money for the upliftment of the people. This is peak capitalism and the commercialization of religion.
The Unification Church and other cult groups mentioned in the documentary abused its members by not paying the people they recruited into the group for carrying out back breaking labor. Out of loyalty to the leader, the members stayed away from asking for money for the amount of work they carried out to build a commune from scratch. A glorified slave is what can be a term given to a commune member.
The emphasis on mass marriages between a random bride and the groom from the audience is what made the Unification Church world famous. A similar kind of mass wedding is also seen in rural parts of India. The whole idea of this kind of marriage is to kickstart the creation of the next generation and prepare them for mass marriage as well. The partners will be chosen by the supreme leader of the church, and people should feel blessed by this union. The church was also responsible for carrying out summer Bible camps for the kids of the group members. The Unification Church will impart knowledge not just about the Bible but also about the Sun Myung Moon as well.
The only way to get the media to talk positively about you is to create your own media. We are sure very few, up until now, knew of the fact that Unification Church has the ownership of the Washington Times. It is mind-boggling to comprehend a national daily in the US is owned by a religious group. It was established only for the sake of imparting their belief system. The influence of Sun Myung Moon reached a point in the United States of America, Moon and his wife were given royal titles by the US Capitol.
This also draws attention to the level of corruption that takes place at the center of American politics, which the people are willing to just ignore and move on. With many powerful leaders in their pockets, the unification church still holds tremendous power, and its leaders are still not investigated. Even with the death of Sun Myung Moon, there was a bit of a tussle over who would take over. A clash was bound to happen, keeping in mind the amount of wealth he left behind. But it is Moon’s legacy that still stands and encapsulates the immortality angle given to How To Become A Cult Leader Episode 6.