Ed Schreyer and the Moonies
ROSS LAVER AND PAUL KAIHLA
He calls himself the son of God, and his professed goal is nothing less than to unite humanity under his divine rule. At 75, Korean-born Rev. Sun Myung Moon presides over one of the 20th century’s most successful and controversial religious movements—embracing an estimated three million followers, scores of Moon-funded civic organizations and a multibilliondollar business empire stretching across five continents. But success has also brought infamy. In the 1970s and 1980s, Moon’s Unification Church became synonymous with right-wing extremism, mass weddings and stories of bright young college kids transformed into spaced-out zombies, or “Moonies,” who sold flowers at airports. In 1984, Moon himself went to jail for 12 months in the United States for income tax evasion. But since then, the self-described ‘True Father” has orchestrated a remarkable campaign to win mainstream respectability and political influence. And he has done it all with the help of famous entertainers, big-name academics and political leaders past and present—including the Right Hon. Edward R. Schreyer, former governor general of Canada.
Maclean’s has learned that on at least six occasions since 1992, Schreyer has participated in events organized by the Moon-sponsored Summit Council for World Peace, a Washington-based group composed largely of former politicians and heads of state from the Third World. In August, the former Manitoba premier, whose five-year term
SUN MYUNG MOON EMBRACES THE HIGH AND MIGHTY
`Separation between religion ar
as the Queen’s representative in Canada ended in 1984, acted as chairman of a Summit Council conference in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The gathering was a feature attraction of Moon’s “Second World Culture and Sports Festival,” a week-long extravaganza that culminated in a Unification Church wedding ceremony for 360,000 couples crammed into Seoul’s Olympic stadium and similar venues around the world and linked by satellite.
Last week, Schreyer, 59, spoke at length with Maclean’s about his three-year association with Moon, his followers and the Summit Council. “He seems to be quite a likeable man, although I must say that my conversations with him have been limited to social encounters,” said Schreyer, who sat at the head table with the charismatic evangelist during the four-day Seoul conference. He added that while he neither subscribes to nor promotes Moon’s “religious mission,” he is impressed by Moon’s dedication to the cause of peace and international harmony. “I happen to know in a personal way many people who are adherents of the Unification Church,” Schreyer offered. “They seem to be leading exemplary lives—Canadians, Americans, Japanese
litics is what Satan likes most*
—Rev. Sun Myung Moon
and others.” Still, Schreyer said that the Unification Church “is certainly a cult, based on my interpretation of the definition of the word, in that it depends entirely on the personality of a single individual.”
Canada’s former head of state, who this fall is teaching a third-year undergraduate course on energy and the environment at the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB) in Sydney, N.S., is in illustrious company as a participant in Moon-funded events. In mid-September, former U.S. president George Bush and his wife Barbara came under fire in the American media for speaking at six mass rallies in Japan sponsored by the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an organization set up by Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, who serves as its president. Until recently, the federation maintained a low profile in North America. But in January, it launched an ambitious series of conferences in the United States that were attended almost exclusively by visiting Japanese members of the WFWP. The conferences featured not only the Bushes—they have appeared at a total of 11 WFWP functions this year, a with one more planned for November—but a stellar cast of similarly | high-priced speakers. Among them: TV journalist Barbara Walters, I
Superman star Christopher Reeve, Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart, Republican presidential candidate Richard Lugar and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
Lugar’s press secretary, Mark Hemke, said last week that the candidate was fully aware that the WFWP was backed by Moon, but that “speaking to a group doesn’t necessarily mean you buy into them.” By contrast, Walters told Maclean’s by fax that she “did not know that the Women’s Federation for World Peace was associated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon when I agreed to speak to the group. I was told it was an organization of Japanese women coming to America at their own expense.” She added that she was scheduled to speak to the WFWP again last Saturday in New York, “but when I found out it was associated with the Rev. Moon, I turned down the appearance ... and will no longer appear at their events.”
In last week’s interview in his spartan, windowless office on the UCCB campus, Schreyer said repeatedly that his involvement with Moon and his associates has been limited to attending Summit Council events, which focus on “various geopolitical and regional topics of concern and interest.” But in fact, Schreyer also played a prominent role in at least one notable WFWP event—a speech by Hak Ja Han Moon in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Nov. 8,1993. Videotapes distributed to Unification Church members show Schreyer introducing Moon’s wife, who is known within the church as the ‘True Mother,” to a large audience in the prestigious Railway Committee Room. In her speech, billed as “God,
zations: “Moon gets his picture taken with a celebrity and uses it to recruit people. And when you go to the centre you see pictures of Moon with all these big guys. It’s a credibility thing. You think, ‘Well, what could possibly be wrong with this organization?’ ”
The son of a peasant farmer, Moon was born in 1920 in the village of Kwangju Sangsa Ri in what is now North Korea. He claims that at 16, Jesus Christ appeared to him on a mountainside and asked him to continue his work. That mission, detailed in a text Moon calls “the Divine Principle,” was to establish an “automatic theocracy to rule the world.” In 1954, the preacher established the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, popularly known as the Unification Church. Its most distinctive idea is that mankind’s fall from grace was the result of a sexual encounter between Eve and Satan in the Garden of Eden—and that salvation can only be attained through Moon, God’s representative on Earth.
From the start, Moon’s ambitions reached far
‘If you tell a lie to make a person better, that is not a sin*
—Moon, in a 1972 talk to his followers
Women and World Peace,” she effusively praised her husband and urged the audience to heed his teachings. Asked about the episode, Schreyer said he now regrets his participation. “I didn’t particularly want to go because it wasn’t a Summit Council event,” he explained. “I reluctantly agreed—really more as a matter of hospitality to Mrs. Moon—but I don’t think I’d be inclined to do it again.”
Unification Church officials insist that groups like the Summit Council and the WFWP are separate from the Church and do not follow Moon’s agenda. Critics, however, say it is wrong for respected public figures to lend their names to organizations linked in any way to the self-styled Korean prophet. “They are giving credibility to a group that wants to create an authoritarian dictatorship,” says Steven Hassan, a former Unification Church leader who took part in high-level planning meetings with Moon himself in the 1970s. Moreover, recent Unification Church defectors say that glossy brochures featuring photographs of celebrities and politicians shaking hands with Moon and speaking at Moon-sponsored events are routinely used to impress potential young recruits.
After that, critics say, the subjects are isolated from friends and family and put through an intense program of indoctrination.
“That is the true strategy of Moon,” says Ingo Michehl, a 29-year-old native of Germany who was drawn into Moon’s orbit at a church-funded student centre near San Francisco in 1986.
For the next 6 V2 years, Michehl crisscrossed the United States in a van with 10 others, selling landscape photographs and other novelty items 18 hours a day to raise money for the church. At times, he says, church leaders also ordered him and fellow unpaid recruits to work for the Women’s Federation and other Moonie groups.
Michehl, who is now studying psychology in New England, says he has nothing but contempt for the public figures who knowingly associate with Moon and his myriad organi-
beyond the Korean peninsula. The Unification Church quickly spread to Japan, the United States and other countries. By the early 1960s, Moon had begun to set up a wide variety of businesses to fund his operations and his own increasingly lavish lifestyle. He also founded the first of a long list of branch organizations, including the Summit Council, the Professors World Peace Academy and the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principle (CARP), his main student group. “If there is to be an ideal world,” a recent Summit Council report states, “an infrastructure has to be built that will assist in its achievement. For this reason, Rev. Moon has founded scores of organizations that embrace religion, politics, economics and science, stimulating a spectrum of enterprises in the media, industry, high technology, academia, humanitarian efforts as well as the arts.” Splashed throughout the glossy 16page handout are photographs of Moon and a parade of dignitaries, including two pictures of Schreyer.
Among the enterprises that Moon helped set up to stimulate his program of world unification was the Global Economic Action Institute. In 1983, a representative of the institute contacted Sylvia Ostry, a former deputy minister in Ottawa who was then chief economist at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, and invited her to a conference in Geneva. Impressed by the proceedings, and unaware of the group’s connection to Moon, Ostry agreed to join the board of directors, later serving as chairwoman of one of the institute’s principal committees. She kept her post after returning to Canada in 1984 and becoming prime minister Brian Mulroney’s personal representative for annual summits of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations.
“Then one day in 1986,” Ostry told Maclean’s last week, “I got a hysterical phone call from a woman in the Prime Minister’s Office. They had received a copy of a cult-watch newsletter which named me as a member of a Moonie front. Then, I got hysterical.” PMO staff quickly convened a meeting with justice department lawyers to draft Ostry’s resignation letter from the institute. “I remember that the letter had to be couched in legal language because the Moonies were so litigious,” she says. “I thought that was crazy—they sucked me into this, and yet I had to be careful.” Ostry, now head of the University of Toronto’s Centre for International Studies, says she doubts most of the institute’s other members knew of the Moon connection. “I mean, why would anyone take the risk of associating with an organization like the Unification Church? Where is the transparency, the accountability? You would want to know much more about what was going on.”
Ostry is not alone in feeling taken in by Moon-related groups. In March, 1994, the Women’s Federation for World Peace staged a program “promoting peace and reconciliation” at the State University of New York campus in Westchester, N.Y., only 50 km from Moon’s sprawling estate. In fact, the event was really a platform for Moon’s son, Hyun Jin Moon, who declared that God had asked his father to give the people of America a new revelation. The emcee opened the session by reading a citation from Sandra Galef, the local state assemblywoman. An angry Galef later told The New York Times that she had been misled. “I have never supported the Unification Church,” said Galef. “I have always felt they are a group that destroys families. If the individual who came into my office requesting a letter had honestly told me what this organization was, I never would have given it to them. Basically it was a hoax.”
That same month, the Toronto chapter of WFWP and the University of Toronto branch of CARP hosted an AIDSprevention program for teenagers at the North York Public Library. The promotional flyer invited parents to enrol their children to ensure that they “choose a
lifestyle without disease and drugs.”
Nowhere in the flyer is there any mention of the Unification Church or Moon.
Another controversial incident involving the WFWP was the November, 1993, speech by Moon’s wife on Parliament Hill. Earlier, the group had sent letters to several senators asking them to reserve the committee room for the occasion (only members of Parliament are entitled to make such bookings). Senator Brenda Robertson obliged. “I saw that one of the main speakers was Ed Schreyer, so I thought I’d better book the room,” said Robertson, a former New Brunswick Conservative cabinet minister. Later, she says, she discovered that the group was “fishy,” and decided to skip the event. When Ottawa Citizen writer Greg Weston referred to the incident in a column three weeks later, he quoted Schreyer saying he did not know how he came to be listed on the group’s letterhead as a senior adviser. “I thought he had been duped like the rest of us,” Robertson told Maclean’s last week.
In fact, Schreyer says he knew from the beginning that Moon had founded the Summit Council.
He says he joined “in 1991 or ’92” after receiving a phone call from the outfit’s Washington-based executive director, Antonio Bettancourt, a longtime Moon admirer. “He mentioned he had been in touch with former heads of state, people from Columbia, UCLA, [former British prime minister]
Ted Heath, two or three former prime ministers of Egypt—interesting and top-drawer people,”
Schreyer recalled. “They were sponsoring conferences to bring together people on worthwhile topics,” such as relations between North and South Korea, world trade and energy policy.
There are other benefits for the people who attend such events. Participants in the August conference chaired by Schreyer, for instance, received first-class air travel and accommodation in one of Seoul’s most luxurious hotels. And while there were rumors that Heath received more than $100,000 to deliver the keynote address,
Schreyer scoffs at that figure, adding that he himself has received payments “in the $2,000 or §
$3,000 range” for similar speeches. Schreyer, who ^ was Canada’s high commissioner to Australia for | four years after his term as governor general, also insists that Moon’s religious program does not influence Summit Council agendas. Still, he acknowledges that the proceedings generally include speeches by the Korean preacher that are heavily laden with church doctrine. An example: “The True Parents of mankind have come to ignite the peaceful revolution of true love,” Moon announced at the August conference.
Also on the agenda were shuttle buses for participants who wished to attend the stadium wedding of 360,000 cou-
‘I was instrumental in bringing about the collapse of communism’
—Moon, in an address to followers in Seattle, Sept. 18
pies, each of which contributed a “gift” of up to $16,000 to the Unification Church. (Among the “brides” were widows who paid similar fees for the privilege of being remarried to their deceased spouses.) “Only a fraction of those attending the Summit Council committed to attend at the religious service,” Schreyer said of the mass wedding. “I didn’t attend the ceremony in the stadium because it was a religious event, not connected to the Summit Council.”
Although Schreyer says that he considers the Summit
Married by the light of Rev* Moon
On his wedding day in August, Simon Cooper put on a conservative dark suit, sober tie and crisp white shirt. His demure bride wore virginal white, from the froth of her veil to the hem of her floor-length dress. In that sense, it was the most traditional of occasions.
It was not, however, a day for his parents to cherish. As their 23-year-old son stood in the rain in South Korea’s Olympic Stadium, they were far away in London. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon may have blessed Simon’s union to a young Japanese design student, but his family could not.
Under different circumstances, Paul and Lili Cooper might have been delighted with their new daughter-in-law. Kuriyama Cheieko is 25 and studying in Italy. She is well educated and cosmopolitan, the daughter of
a Japanese businessman and a fashion designer. A photo sent by the church to Simon shows a pretty woman in designer jeans and a Moschino sweatshirt.
The photograph, of course, is the problem. Until a few hours before the wedding, it was all that Simon had seen of his bride. The pair, like many of the other 360,000 couples Who took part in the ceremony, were matched by Moon himself. And if there is affection in the relationship, their first love is the elderly Korean, who claims to be God’s emissary.
Simon believes that in time the relationship with his Japanese wife will develop, that there will be children and a home. At the moment, however, he is devoting his energies to the church in Scotland; Kuriyama plans to complete her studies in Italy. Both remain celibate. “It will be a couple of years before we begin proper married life,” says Simon. “We will not have a physical relationship for a few years.”
His parents have yet to meet his new wife. Simon joined the church during a holiday in the United States two years ago, and has since graduated in English literature from Newcastle University. “I like to think I have been lucky,” he says. “I have a steady family background and my parents are happily married.” He believes his father has come to accept the situation. And he predicts his mother and brother will also come around.
The father sees things otherwise. Paul Cooper, a businessman, says he does not wish to ridicule what his son is doing, but has doubts about the integrity of the Unification Church. “I am glad he wants more from life than $100,000 and a company car,” he comments. “But it’s hard to relate to the closed social structure of the church.” Cooper insists that the Moonies have indoctrinated his son, who now works up to 15 hours a day hawking cheap plastic toys in pubs to raise cash for the church. Cooper also finds it ironic that Moon himself has been divorced—twice, according to some accounts. “How can a messiah who twice failed to pick the right partner for himself pick one for my son?”
Two months after the wedding, Simon and his parents are still on speaking terms. In the end, though, father and son each expect the other to compromise. Says Paul Cooper: “I know it hurts him that I do not approve of his marriage. But we love him and want to protect his freedom as an individual. We all feel hurt by what is happening.”
Council’s work to be valuable, he appears to have discussed it with few, if any, of his political peers in Canada. Robertson, for one, said last week that she was “shocked” that Schreyer remains active in a Moon-sponsored organization. Declared Robertson: “He has a pretty large responsibility to the Canadian public and the international public because of the offices he’s held. I really question his judgment”
The U.S. state department, too, seems to be wary of the Summit Council. Twice in 1994, the department hosted conferences organized by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the professional body that represents 11,000 U.S. career diplomats. Held in a state department briefing room, the conferences focused on trade and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region, and drew high-level Washington insiders such as Winston Lord, assistant state secretary for East Asian affairs, and William Clements, director of export controls at the National Security Council. What many did not know was that Moon’s Summit Council was a financial sponsor of the events. “Just before the second conference, someone in Winston Lord’s office brought it to our attention and said they were uncomfortable with the Summit Council being a sponsor of events at the state department,” said AFSA executive director Susan Reardon. Since then, AFSA has not solicited Summit Council funds for its conferences because, she says, it does not want to become overly dependent on any one sponsor.
In fact, the former AFSA staffer who set up the conferences, John Harter, says that there were heated exchanges over his decision to enlist the Summit Council as a sponsor. “She [Reardon] got rather hysterical when she discovered it,” he recalls. “She spoke very contemptuously of Rev. Moon, and said she was concerned that it could be very embarrassing to AFSA.” State department officials declined to discuss the affair.
Despite that controversy, many of the people who have spoken recently at Moon-sponsored functions defend their involvement “I did not know that the Summit Council was a Moon organization,” said James Woolsey, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency when he addressed a meeting organized by the council last year with the help of Representative Ronald Dellums (D—Calif.) and Representative Jon Kyi (R—Ariz.).
“The reason I spoke was because two congressmen asked me to,” he said, adding that he would do it again under similar circumstances.
Jim Laurie, ABC News senior correspondent in London, echoes those sentiments. In August, while Schreyer was chairing the Summit Council event in Seoul, Laurie appeared at another Moon-backed forum in the same city, the so-called Thirteenth World Media Conference. “It was useful to meet media people in Asia, and as far as I could
tell there were no Moonies there,” he said. Reminded that Moon himself gave a founder’s address, Laurie responded, “I thought you meant Moonies among the invitees.” The journalist then added: “I’d rather not be quoted on this. I don’t want to draw attention to my participation in this event.”
Bush, by far the best-known figure to lend his name to an organization associated with Moon, is also the most outspoken defender of such involvement. On Sept. 14, he and his wife kicked off their sixcity Japanese WFWP tour with speeches at the Tokyo Dome before 50,000 people—mostly Unification Church followers and family members—who had paid between $105 and $196 each to attend. Bush later turned down requests from major American news organizations to discuss the appearance, and instead gave an exclusive interview to the Washington Times, a newspaper with a right-wing editorial policy founded by Moon and his associates in 1982. “Until I see something about the Women’s Federation that troubles me, I will
The entire world did everything it could to put an end to me, yet I did not die and I am firmly standing on top of the world’
—from a speech by Moon during a tour in June of Latin America
continue to encourage them,” Bush declared. He also praised what he called the group’s “great emphasis on family” and noted that the federation “maintains that it is independent of the Unification Church.”
The former president, who commands an estimated $70,000 for speeches in the United States, refuses to say how much he has been paid for his 11 WFWP appearances so far this year. But some of the Japanese women who flew to Washington last spring to hear Bush and others speak paid dearly for the privilege. Tokyo lawyer Hiroshi Yamaguchi, who represents several disgruntled former members of the Unification Church, says that one of his clients paid $11,260 for an eight-day WFWP trip to Washington in February. Of that, $8,000 was deemed to be a “gift” to the WFWP. The woman, who asked not to be named, said that she feels exploited and wants her money back.
Cynthia Lilley has her own reasons for being angry. In July, 1993, her daughter, Cathryn Mazer, then an 18-year-old sophomore at New
York University, attended a weekend retreat organized by CARP. Recruited into the organization, she spent much of the next five months raising money for Moon’s cause, travelling the eastern seaboard in a crowded van and selling pictures of clowns and ballerinas 14 hours a day. Lilley, a music teacher, says she got her daughter back only after hiring a detective and convincing church officials to allow her to meet her daughter in a Unification Church office.
Last month, after hearing about Bush’s speeches to the WFWP, Lilley founded her own organization—Mothers Opposed to Moon (MOM). “By putting himself in front of this organization, Bush is legitimizing a group that lives off the blood of our children,” she says. “He can say to the skies that it has nothing to do with the Unification Church, but it has everything to do with it, because it’s legitimizing what this socalled religious organization does.” She added that she supports the principle of freedom of worship, “but what I mind very much is that young adults are caught up in this through deceptive recruitment, horribly exploited and turned away from their own families.”
But like Bush, Schreyer is unfazed by suggestions that he is lending respectability to a dubious cause. Told of the criticisms levelled by Lilley and former church members like Michehl, the onetime governor general said he views his activities as totally separate from those of the church. “I have just not been in the habit of looking behind events of this kind to see what religious aspects lay behind them,” he said. “And I do not want to make a value judgment about one or another of any of the religious denominations that exist in this worlcj.”