The Words of the van der Stok Family

Discrimination and Errors in "World Religions Today" textbook by John L. Esposito, Darrell J. Fasching and Todd Lewis

Sammi Vanderstok
December 2010

Hi Professor Fasching,

I apologize that I haven't been able to get back you sooner, but as a full-time student I was focusing on completing my semester.

However, I do want to point out a few things that you wrote in this email and in the textbook that are false statements and I would be happy to refer you onto a Unification theologian if you have any more questions.

First of all, you mentioned in your previous email that Unificationism is apocalyptic because of its Christian roots. This is not true and if you have read the Divine Principle you would see that this is an area where we disagree with traditional Christian theology. The 3rd chapter of the Divine Principle is called Eschatology and addresses the concept of the last days. On page 89 of the Exposition of the Divine Principle, it states:

"The Last Days is this time, when the evil world under satanic sovereignty is transformed into the ideal world under God's sovereignty. Hell on earth will be transformed into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Therefore, it will not be a day of fear when the world will be destroyed by global catastrophes, as many Christians have believed. In fact, it will be a day of joy, when the cherished hope of humankind, the desire of the ages, will be realized."

The Divine Principle goes onto to explain on p.90 that all the prophecies of the Bible about the Last Days are purely symbolic of an ungodly environment transitioning into a peaceful and Godly environment. Page 91 states that "To create a new heaven and earth means to restore heaven and earth to God's sovereignty founded on Christ." The Divine Principle states that the Earth is God's creation and therefore God would not a destroy it (p.91).

Also, your section of Unificationism states things like:

"Unification's teachings are based on Moon's book, Divine Principle, which is really a kind of Asian or Daoist interpretation of the Bible in terms of polarities, or opposites (divine-human, male-female, etc.), beginning with the polarity of male and female in God."

When I read this sentence, the first thing that came to mind was who had the right to say that the Divine Principle is "really a kind of Asian or Daoist interpretation of the Bible"? There is no source quoted here or scholar on Unificationism mentioned. It seems to simply be your opinion, but on what basis do you have this opinion? Also, should your opinion be taken as fact by all who read this? I felt that this sentence alone showed the level of research you put behind this section. There are no sources cited, no direct quotes from the Divine Principle, and no opposing opinions shared to allow the students to form their own opinions instead of taking your ideas as absolute fact.

You state several other such statements such as:

"For the movement, every new crop of married couples furthers the struggle against the Communists, Satan's representatives on Earth, who Moon depicts as arrayed against demonic agents in a lifelong cosmic battle."

Once again, whose opinion is this? No source is quoted, and if definitely did not come from the Unification Church because this is not the purpose of marriage for Unificationists. This sentence leads the reader to believe that we are all minions of some sort and have no will or individual purpose of our own. If you would ask this question to any Unificationist pastor or theologian, they would share the purpose of getting married within the Unification Church is to create an ideal family.

Another blaring inaccuracy that you write is in your biography of Rev. Moon. You wrote that Rev. Moon's imprisonment and torture in North Korea was:

"An ordeal his followers see as divinely ordained suffering that will lead to the redemption of the human race from the sin of the first parents, Adam and Eve."

Once again, whose opinion is this? The biography does not include any details about where this statement came from and so I assume once again that it was yours. But this sentence is misconstrued because Unificationists do not believe that it was God's will that Rev. Moon had to be tortured and we also do not believe that his imprisonment for being a minister under a Communist regime restored humankind. It was a tragic event and the fact that he survived it and did amazing acts of service to other prisoners at the sacrifice of himself (like giving over half of his food away to other prisoners when all they received was small cup of salt broth and a handful of rice a day) is a testimony to his dedication to God and those around him.

After reading you're section, I would like to know the sources you used and whether you have ever updated your information on the Unification Church (like the fact that Rev. Moon almost never arranges marriages anymore). I am also curious as to whether or not you have actually read the Divine Principle for yourself or ever invited an Unificationist pastor or theologian to share their studies on Unificationism with you. If not, I can forward on your information to some pastors and professors if you want, and we have the Divine Principle online available to the public.

Thank you for your earlier response, and I hope you can take the effort needed to correctly inform yourself on Unificationism. I would also ask that you reconsider the content you have already written and published and consider amending them to be more factual and less discriminatory.


Sammi Vanderstok 

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