40 Years in America

Problems at Home

Barrytown trainees entertaining

The inability of the Barrytown Pioneer Program to bring substantial results and the extreme hostility that arose against the movement in the United States during 1975 were two serious problems that had negative effects throughout the following decade. The difficulties of the Barrytown pioneers and the inability of the church, with the exception of its West Coast branch, to come up with a witnessing strategy that worked made it impossible for the movement to meet its membership goals. Vehement opposition and a negative public image also hindered numerical growth. Ironically, many of the very measures the movement utilized to launch its worldwide mission were the same measures that triggered the most intensely negative reactions. In light of these debilitating problems, what advances the church could make were all the more remarkable.

Much was expected of church evangelists and witnessers. Rev. Moonís direction was that each month every witnessing member should bring one full-time convert. This was the origin of the movementís "1-1-1" motto. Moreover, members should accomplish this for seven years, bringing a total of eighty-four "spiritual children," a number understood "to restore the failure of the 12 apostles and 72 disciples of Jesus." This was a challenging condition under the best of circumstances. For a movement that had not yet attained institutional stability, which demanded uncompromising, full-time dedication of new members and about which there was increasing public skepticism, the expectation was even more of a challenge. In fact, although the movement grew substantially between 1972-74, this level of result was not achieved. However, Rev. Moon continued to stress fulfillment of the "1-1-1" as a precondition of success in America. "Our first priority," he said, "should be to bring people, before taking time to eat, sleep, study, or do anything else." This was why Rev. Moon set up Barrytown Training and why, early in the program, he increased the witnessing condition to "1-1-3" with the expectation that each of the 120-day program graduates would bring three new people each month.

The Barrytown pioneers were not up to this task. A first group of fourteen participants who entered the witnessing phase of the program on May 18th managed to bring three guests to a seven-day workshop during their initial ten days in the field, and the Churchís ten regional directors who completed an abbreviated version of Barrytown Training brought an average of four new members each over forty days. However, these were exceptional members and each of the regional leaders went out with three assistants. The vast majority of Barrytown pioneers were relatively new members with limited or no leadership experience.

With immense pressure on them to produce, having been isolated from the field during the sixty-day lecture cycle at Barrytown, and faced with increasing public negativity, many pioneers became dysfunctional and even left the Church. The Barrytown Training staff recognized the problem and set up a system of pioneer trinities, coaches and itinerant workers for support. They also designed questionnaires and approach books to be used in witnessing and equipped pioneers with battery powered P.A. systems for street preaching, white boards, tapes and lecture outlines and printed copies of Mr. Sudoís speeches.

Nevertheless, by late summer, reports in Church publications were emphasizing spiritual breakthroughs of pioneers more than their concrete results.

The total of Barrytown pioneers plus "helpers" assisting in various states rose to 153 by October, or three for each state. However, when Mr. Sudo conducted a tour of eight Northeast states, he discovered that only four out of twenty-one pioneers were actually pioneering.

They were not praying enough, were uncentered and depressed. This led to an all-night prayer vigil at Bear Mountain State Park, across the Hudson River from Tarrytown, New York, an emergency meeting at Barrytown, and a two pronged strategy "to free the pioneers to pioneer." The first step was practical. Pioneers were asked to remove themselves from state centers where they had run into heavy financial burdens of previous Day of Hope campaigns, ambitious property purchases or debts caused by general inexperience. Forty-six did so immediately. The second step was spiritual. Mr. Sudo identified the accomplishment of "1-1-3" with the "New Age of Pentecost" and on November 1, 1975 initiated a 5:30 a.m. "Prayer Offensive to Save America."

Two days later, while running in a relay race after lunch during a church holiday, Mr. Sudo fell and dislocated his right shoulder. Although he continued gamely from his hospital bed, signing 150 letters to state pioneers with his left hand, his immobilized and painful situation symbolized the state of the pioneer program. In November, a final group of 67 went to the field, bringing the total number of state pioneers to 300. They were expected to remain in their missions through the movementís Yankee Stadium campaign scheduled for the following June. Although Rev. Moon spoke of a two-month training session after Yankee Stadium for 3,000 pioneers who then would be responsible to increase ten-fold, it became apparent that he was not placing all of his eggs in the Barrytown basket.

Members praying during a Sunday Service at the newly purchased Columbia University Club building, later to become HSA-UWC National Headquarters, New York

Few, if any, Americans were aware of these internal problems. For most, the Church had burst into public consciousness with great force and suddenness and presented a frightening prospect. There were reports in the press of seemingly happy and well-adjusted young people dropping out of college or university to sell candy and flowers on the streets for up to eighteen hours a day. For families that had "lost" a son or daughter, news of the churchís "mass-marriages" or that Rev. Moon was regarded by his followers as the "second Christ" was not comforting. More ominous was a May 1975 NBC documentary which, utilizing a heavily Orientalized voice-over, reported on a suicide and trauma cases at Barrytown, and provided film footage of members from the movementís Northern California branch denying any affiliation with the church. Equally ominous were reports that the churchís worldwide membership was committed to defend South Koreaís 38th Parallel at the cost of their lives. Spectacular real estate purchases including a significant portion of greenbelt land in Tarrytown, New York and the former Columbia University Club in mid-town Manhattan continued to fuel suspicions, and in November, the New York Daily News, in a five-part series, stated that Rev. Moon was "fanatically interested" in obtaining power in the United States. These reports and others helped to create a climate of extreme hostility toward the church and to stimulate the beginnings of organized opposition.

The most immediate threat faced by the church were vigilante-style "deprogrammings." There were a number of incidents in which members were abducted, confined and pressured to leave the church by paid "deprogrammers" and their assistants, usually previously "deprogrammed" ex-members. Ted Patrick, a San Diego-based California state social worker nicknamed "Black Lightning," was the most well-known "deprogrammer." By June 1975, he or his associates had kidnapped twelve church members. Their premise was that members were "brainwashed," subjected to "mind control," and, in effect, "programmed" by the church. Hence, they needed to be "deprogrammed." Patrick contended that Unification Church recruiters practiced "on-the-spot hypnosis" and the same brainwashing techniques as the North Koreans. Members were "robots" or "zombies" who needed to be taken out "bodily." Once taken, teams of deprogrammers, ex-members and sometimes parents and relatives took turns pressuring confined members in marathon sessions lasting hours or even days. It was not a pleasant experience. In July 1975, when Andrew Wilson, the leader of the Brooklyn Church, returned after having been held for one month by Patrick, the New York Times, New York Post, Newsweek, Associated Press, and four local television stations all sent representatives to a press conference.

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