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My Mom Versus Reverend Moon

English: and his wife .

Rev. Moon and his wife. She had very strong thighs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, the world learned that Reverend Sun Myung Moon died. The fact that I was under the radar last week is strictly coincidental. I was not involved in the demise of the Reverend.

If anyone that I know is a suspect, it is my mom. I’m not saying she did it. I’m saying she’s had her eye on him for a long time.

Set The Wayback Machine…

I graduated from high school and started at the University of Maryland in 1979. Like most parents sending their kids off to a big university, my mother was apprehensive. College brings a lot of new challenges. Mom made sure that I was ready for whatever came my way.

Cults were a big worry. Seventeen year old me showing back up at the homestead with a shaved head and a tambourine was a frightening possibility. Mom did everything she could to prevent that possibility. I listened to a lot of warnings of how the Krishnas or the Moonies might go about luring me in.

Mr. Tambourine Man

The Byrds. They couldn’t afford gloves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listened, and she put up with a lot of jokes from an overconfident seventeen year old. Sometimes I’d hum a bit of Mr. Tambourine Man while she talked. My mom would snicker, then return to the topic of how big a problem it was when kids got turned into Mr. Tambourine Man.

Deep down, I appreciated that this was an issue for her because I was her boy (I still am). But teen me knew that those nutty Moonies couldn’t get close to me. Sometimes I cut those conversations off by declaring all the ways I didn’t need to hear what she was saying.

Of All The Campuses, In All The Towns, In All The World, She Walks Onto Mine

I saw the girl as I walked up the hill toward the Student Union. Thirty-three years later, it is hard to remember a lot about her. She had dark hair and was very attractive. In today’s terms, she had it goin’ on.

I wasn’t the type to just stop some girl walking across campus and start talking to her. She stopped me. I was very impressed with myself when that happened. I decided that I must have looked good that day. Why else would she stop me?

It went so well. We talked majors and classes. She asked if I usually passed this way around this time. I said that I did, but that wasn’t true. The truth was that if she was going to be in the area I’d be there and I’d be the one to start the conversation when we crossed paths again.

The girl wasn’t there the next few days. I chalked it up to me just having an exceptionally good two minutes on Monday.

Mom’s Nightmare Comes To Pass, A Little

When I got home on Friday evening, Mom gave me a greeting card that arrived with the day’s mail. The return address (sans name) was near campus, the handwriting on the envelope was decidedly girly. I opened it. A young woman’s picture fell out when I removed the card. It was her, the girl from campus.

Mom seemed intrigued by this developing story. I opened the card, read it, closed it and put it back in the envelope.

My mother didn’t bite when I tried to change the subject. She probably saw the dread on my face. I really didn’t want to read the card to her, but under the circumstances, I figured it was just best to do it.

It was nice meeting you on campus Monday. I’d like to see you again. I’ll be at the meeting of the Unification Church at…

“She’s a Moonie!? You gave your address to the Moonies?! What were you thinking?” She was as scared and angry as I was confused.

Yes, confused and worried. I thought I was getting shipped off to some cult deprogramming center. I had no idea how I’d gotten myself into this mess, or how I’d get out of it.

The Wayback Machine Brings Us Back

I called my mom when I heard about Reverend Moon’s passing. We had a good laugh about the night the card arrived. It didn’t rain that night, but there was quite a storm going on at our place.

As the memory came back to her, Mom said she remembered how she kept asking me how the girl got my address without me giving it to her and how “I don’t know” wasn’t helping my case that night.

The M Circle ( image via cvs.umd.edu)

The mystery wasn’t solved and the storm didn’t stop until I started reconstructing that day on campus. I was walking uphill toward the union, I came from down near the M Circle. I’d been at one of the admin buildings to turn in a form…I was carrying my copy of that form.

I ran and got the form, there was my name and address – one neatly printed letter in each block. It was dated from that Monday. I showed my mother how I held the form on top of the books I was carrying. She pointed out that the card was addressed using my given name, not the shortened version I’d have used when meeting a girl. We theorized that my Moonie memorized enough of my information to make a note. She could have filled in any blanks by checking the phone book.

Because of the card hub-bub, I missed out on a date that I did have that night, with a Presbyterian. Looking back on it, I understand why, though I was really hacked off that night. If it were my son, I’d have kept him home too.

While we laughed about something that wasn’t funny when it happened, I realized two things. The first is that really hot Moonies must have tremendous capacity to remember things.

The other is that you’re always someone’s son or daughter, even when you’re as old as I am. Something in Mom’s voice was different when we talked about the man whose cult tried to get her boy. We laughed, but she was as serious about the topic as she was in our kitchen when I was seventeen. She’d do anything to protect her kids, even now.

I’m not saying she did it. I’m saying she’s had her eye on the man since the ’70’s.

Thanks Mom.

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26 Comments on “My Mom Versus Reverend Moon”

  1. Laura says:

    When I was in high school, there was a cult — it may have been the Moonies — that liked to hang out around the campus and give out plastic flowers. Because really, who can resist an invitation from someone who’s just given you a plastic flower? So a friend and I created our own cult, declared ourselves co-high-priestesses, and gave pine needles and our own indoctrination speech to anyone who tried to give us a plastic flower.

  2. I thought you looked familiar. I waited for hours when you didn’t show up and then I struck up a conversation with this guy with a tambourine. Krishna, krishna, hare, hare, dude!

  3. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Yay for your mom! Moms have a lot of power and they need it to deal with their testosterone laden boys.

  4. Debbie says:

    Good for your mom!! How is it that moms just know these things — must be telepathic! Funny how they can sniff danger when it comes near their cubs, then gear up for all-out war!! She’s got to be relieved you’re past prime cult-recruiting age now!

    • omawarisan says:

      She knew! And this was my freshman year, early first semester. It was still warm. The only way it could have happened faster was if they’d been a part of freshman orientation.

  5. lbwoodgate says:

    Hey! There’s a cat named Fred Phelps up in Topeka, Kansas at this Westboro Baptist Church that needs, shall we say, a change of heart. Might your mom be interested in … uh, never mind. Just a thought

  6. I was the same age when two friendly older girls struck up a conversation with me outside a museum and seemed to think I was really “cool.” They invited me to watch a movie and eat popcorn with them that night, and I was thrilled. My mom was a little suspicious but she let me go; they even picked me up in their car. When I got to the house, I was surprised to see a bunch of people there, and the movie was all about “The Way.” I watched that and ate the popcorn but I felt pretty gypped. They spent the whole evening trying to convert me (I told them I was a Christian but that wasn’t good enough — I had to belong to “The Way”) and told me that the evolutionary science I believed in was full of holes. When it was clear I wasn’t going to sign up along with the others, they got a little nasty. They definitely did not think I was “cool” anymore. I had to ask several times to go home, before they took me back. It was super creepy because they were SO good at drawing you in and not saying what they were all about in the first place. They must train them for that or something. Lesson learned!

    • omawarisan says:

      I wonder if the common thread is appearing to be on your own and young. I might have been three weeks into college and was commuting to school instead of living there. I knew one person on campus and I think it showed.

  7. Betty says:

    There used to be a local radio station (pre-internet) that did a phone in thing called “dead, not dead.” They’d name a celeb and listeners would phone in their guess. I would have failed that contest because I thought he was already dead.

    Probably around the same time you had your Moonie encounter, I was in Boston, walking through Downtown Crossing and was approached by a handsome young man. Same type of small talk, then he whips out the book Dianetics. Even then I knew there was something not quite right about L. Ron Hubbard.

  8. OmawariMom says:

    Thank you for a nice story. Now that you are a parent, you assume the role of “Cult Awareness Monitor” for your family. Would you like me to take the “NO CULTS ALLOWED” sign out of your room?

    • omawarisan says:

      No, I’m ok. I’ve got the no cults hat and shirt you made for me. It wasn’t so bad wearing it every day on campus, but I’d really have preferred to not wear it to graduation.

      Thank you for the story!

  9. Lenore Diane says:

    Sha’woo! The Moonies didn’t get you. Personally, I always wanted to be a Goonie.

  10. Blogdramedy says:

    I’m glad you didn’t end up interstellar stardust but disturbed you like brunettes. Does this mean I have to colour my hair…or I could do a wig. Wigs are so not permanent. 😉

  11. […] might remember that I am not convinced my mom didn’t kill Reverend Sun Myung Moon. She had the motive, though perhaps not the opportunity. This is a different event. I am certain […]

  12. […] As you might imagine, my parents weren’t happy about The Moonies taking their best shot at me. Even clowns don’t smile about cults recruiting their kids. So, when Reverend Moon died I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about my suspicion that my mom did him in. […]

  13. […] My Mom Versus Reverend Moon tells the story of how the Moonies tried to recruit me into their cult during my freshman year at college. I’m still not certain that my mom was not involved in the Reverend’s demise. […]


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