Reformation of the Unification Church

An Appeal to Return God to the Center

by Thomas Cromwell <>
October 22, 2012

I believe in God. I love God. I fear God. I want to follow God.


I joined the Unification Church because I came to believe that it was the vehicle for Godís will for this time, the organization where I could best hope to encounter the living God and know His truth. The teaching answered my key questions: What is God trying to achieve on earth today, and what am I supposed to do about it? Meeting Sun Myung Moon confirmed that he was indeed a man of God, that he lived a life of incredible devotion and commitment to God, and that what he taught came from the substance of his own experiences with God.


I left the Unification Church 30 years later because I had lost the sense that this was the place where I could encounter God and fulfill my own course as someone who wanted to live for Him. My experience of church leadership had grown increasingly sour, and my personal view was that the directions the church was taking, including trivializing the blessing, focusing on spiritual liberation instead of learning and practicing the truth, and on the deification of True Parents instead of focusing on creating a meaningful God-centered tradition for the future, were leading Unification members and institutions back into the wilderness, instead of out of it and into the promised land of settlement.


I have not turned against the Moon Family or the Unification Church. I have not become a Muslim or a disciple of Krishna, Buddha, the Pope, Luther or Joel Osteen. I do not belong to a group of ex-Unificationists or to any church, philosophical society or UFO-watchers club. I think I am a Wistful Unificationist. I want the God I met in the Church, I like the Unificationist ideals for the world, but I donít miss the Church.


I believe that the problems the Church faces today are to be expected from an organization that has lost its anchor in God. The worst excesses are seen among the Moon children in leadership positions within the Church. The oldest surviving son takes half the Church assets for himself and his family and yet claims to lead a schismatic Unificationist faction. In truth, he is a thief. Another son wastes hundreds of millions of Church dollars fighting his older brother in ill-advised lawsuits. He is a thief too. They are thieves because the monies they take for themselves and spend on sibling rivalries do not belong to them. These monies were donated by faithful members (especially the Japanese) for Unification mission purposes. Meanwhile, their sister leading the Church in the Western world destroys the brand she claims to be restoring through irresponsible and ungodly behavior.


With the center so out of kilter, how can the secondary tiers of leaders and the faithful believers be expected to keep the Unification Church on a true, God-centered course? How can members be expected to remain committed to it? How can people be expected to join it? And how can those who, like myself, have been touched deeply by the founder, the teaching and a host of divinely-inspired experiences, find any way to participate in it?


A movement of reformation is underway, it is said. Voting for new leaders has been mandated by the center. But this process looks more like the democratic centralism of the Communist states, which was designed to secure the power of their authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in the name of democracy, rather than the democracy that enabled the early American churches to revolutionize the practice of faith and the role of religion in society and the world.


No, this is not serious. Any serious reformation movement has to go to the roots. It has to find out why and how the Unification Church has failed so badly to be the place where people everywhere can meet God and deepen their relationship with Him. And what can be done to fix this.


The Unification endeavor was always ambitious, seeking as it does to bring together on a deep level people of widely divergent religious and cultural backgrounds. Some of the corruption that is so disturbing in the UC is the result of gross failures in this area. The name Unification Church itself is problematic. What does it mean? Isnít the real objective to establish God-centered individuals, families, nations and thence a God-centered world in which people of all backgrounds can find and live with a common Divine Parent? This Unificationist vision is what the Unificationist Church structures, whatever they are called, must nurture and enable. (They should be diametrically opposite in principle and structure to the sort of centralized authority portrayed rather grimly in the Unification Board of the oppressive government in Ayn Randís Atlas Shrugged.)


There are many good and dedicated Unificationists who have persevered in faith. (I respect their greater dedication than my own.) Among these faithful there are many wise and thoughtful people who can contribute to a serious reformation effort. They should be asked, sincerely, to help. The solutions do not reside in the heads of a chosen few. Furthermore, Ďcleaning upí HSA in America and ending the devastating round of intra-Moon family lawsuits should be seen as only secondary issues, not the primary purpose of reformation. The true purpose of reformation is to address the fundamental problems of the Unification Church worldwide, problems that have produced a culture of Godless corruption. ††


Most of all, God should be asked for His intercession. Who knows what He will say and through whom He will choose to speak?


These are stirring times, on all levels. The world needs a place where it can go to meet the living God, a place where God alone rules. This is the place that He will frequent because He knows that this is where He can best reach all His children. Its existence has always been elusive. Restoration history shows that God moves on from any given organization, people or nation that cannot keep Him at the center. Is this to be the destiny of the Unification Church? Or can a reformation return God to its center?


Thomas Cromwell

October 22, 2012