The founder of the Unification Church definitely was a very charismatic man. I know because I became a member of his movement in 1975 and had considerable exposure to him, his ways, and his movement over the last 45 years. Yes, I am older now, and wiser.
So, what is the deal about a contemporary religious leader of Korean origin being labeled a sex shaman? Not much, perhaps. Most religious leaders somehow take or took advantage of people’s fascination with mythology, sex, rituals, power, and lineage. Isn’t that what religion is about? Kings and queens of the past were on to that as well. One might say that the Reverend Moon became one of the experts on this.
Religious leaders are then really sex shamans? It is a bit of a far stretch, but yes, many are. That is, the shamans of indigenous cultures have, over time, transitioned into what we now may call religious, cultural, and even political leaders. You see, humans are fantastic creatures, and most need and seek others to be fascinated by. People have questions, and they seek answers. Shamans of old and new fill that void.
Yes, love is fascination! It has to do with the erotic, and less with sex. There are a few things I can and need to say about love and the Rev. Moon, and perhaps just as much about his followers, including myself.
Tom, you begin to sound like a sex shaman? Are you out of your freakin’ mind?
Not so. I am a love shaman. What is the difference? Sex shamans worship the sexual organs no matter the human attached to them, love shamans worship the erotic person.
What on earth are you talking about?
Pollyanna, please go and play outside. We have plenty of sunshine today.
Can we go outside, too?
Yes, sure. Just be back for dinner.
So, Tom, you made an interesting distinction between the notions of ‘sexual organs’ and ‘erotic person’ in terms of what to pay attention to. Can you elaborate on that a bit more? We might otherwise misunderstand or not understand at all.
Sure. I am reading two books lately. One of them is Sex Shamans, True Stories of Sacred Sexuality and Awakening, edited by KamalaDevi McClure and published by Destiny Books. The other is Core Of The Universe, God’s Vision for Love, Sex, and Intimacy, and published by High Noon International. Two puzzling books for me. Sex Shamans is largely by and about people promoting a polyamorous lifestyle of sacred sex and love. Core of the Universe is a quote reference to Rev. Moon’s many speeches regarding love, sex, and intimacy, with brief interpretations of his words.
And I am fascinated by some similarities of what these books pay attention to: it is the unity of or relationship between sexual organs and sacred love. Sex Shamans takes a total humanistic approach, while Core of the Universe takes a strong theistic approach in explaining the issues. Both books tell the reader that the male and female sexual organs, used for sex that is, are the source of love and life. Core of the Universe adds lineage to love and life on the list of outcomes. For Sex Shamans, sacred sex is a recreational activity, for Core of the Universe, sacred sex is primarily a reproductive or procreational activity, before being a recreational activity. But sex is sacred, that is, not dirty, for both of their practitioners.
The adherents of Sex Shamans are mostly into polyamorous relationships, a few are serial monogamists, and hardly any are just into plain monogamy. Core of the Universe not only promotes but requires absolute monogamy of its adherents, lest they will be able to receive the blessing necessary to enter the heavenly afterlife. That is a bit too coercive for me.
Whoa, I never knew. Wonder what Christians think of all that?
It is all heretical to us. Sex, with the exception of the necessity of procreation, is undesirable. There is not much else to say about that.
By all means, Augustine, we are not that of a monolithic movement anymore. Plenty of us are considering fair options.
Monogamous sex is holy for the Rev Moon, and the more the better. It took a few attempts for him to find a partner he could finally live with in accordance with his erotic appetite and its religious justifications. No, I am not saying that he was a promiscuous man at all, and he also was not a prude. I think that he totally acted within the realm of what he made up and wholly believed to be God’s providence.
He was more than willing to go through hardships, that is, periods of aestheticism. He required self-denial not only of others but could and would move on at all opportune times to enact a vital erotic life – saying that it would give God all the pleasure and joy in the world. He coined this way of life ‘living for the sake of others.’
Just look at all his offspring. He sure populated the human gene pool with his own, I say. Not to be outdone easily, only perhaps by the Mongol Gengis Khan who is said to have impregnated thousands of concubines.
Moon’s virility most likely was my father’s envy.
Tom, let’s go back to the distinction between ‘sexual organs and the human attached to them’ and the ‘erotic person.’ What’s up with that?
In my strenuous efforts to find the answer to the fundamental problems of humankind, and the root of the universe, I realized it was the sexual organs. Once I realized it was them and thought the whole matter through, I found that the harmony of heaven and earth was swirling around the sexual organs. It is an amazing fact.
Expertly crafted sexual organs? Seem easy to talk about compared to a ‘God-given’ sex drive. Sexual inclinations in humans are a lot more complex than you are willing to acknowledge, Rev. Moon. You seem to have had not much of an inkling to talk about human instincts and drives, or you were just too willing to simplify the issues for the sake of your and your fan’s shared fascinations.
Tom, the Fall of Man messed up the sexual inclinations of Adam and Eve. We just cannot explain the actual facts, the hows and whens, in scientific details. Who can? Call it an assumption, but is it not fair to say that our most pressing sexual problems originate in the Fall?
Chimps and bonobos, their smaller cousins, have sex instincts and drives not different from what we as modern humans find in ourselves.
And I remember reading that the Rev. Moon said that creation had not fallen. So, their sex instincts and drives had not been compromised as a consequence of a Fall. They are then natural, or not? Sure, human behavior has gone way out of bounds, but not the sex instincts and drives. These have not changed much, it seems. And precisely these sex instincts and drives are not addressed with quotes from Rev. Moon in the book Core of the Universe, other than referring to some inanimate chemistry. Biology, anthropology, psychology, sociology? Nope, it is all folklore disguised as theology, after a bit of chemistry.
He probably talked elsewhere about that.
Oh, fill me in, please. Why do we get horny in the most inappropriate moments, like sitting in the church’s pews? Does God not know how painful that can be, how much suffering that costs us? Is God not embarrassed and ashamed for causing us that much discomfort, if not harm? Why does God always get a free pass?
The Fall of Man as primarily messing up people’s sexuality is a metaphor at best. The Hebrew Bible does not mention it. It was St. Paul and St. Augustine who amplified their personal hunches and perpetuated them as so-called truth. Both were serious abusers in their own rights before they converted. Just like a pendulum, they could not help but swing from one bad extreme to another in their fateful conjecturing.
You all read some good books!
Sure, it is easy for the Rev. Moon to point to the proper use of sex organs to avoid trouble, especially in amorous relationships. But while humans make use of their sex organs, they do not make use of their sex drive. The sex drive makes use of humans! That is why literate people do not bother to call out innocent sex organs. Has Rev. Moon explained about the sex drive and why God had left it in his children? It is ironic, but human choice and responsibility leading supposedly to ‘godly’ behavior are seriously compromised by that fateful oversight of the creator.
Leaving the sex drive in there with his children tells me that God simply intended to use humans. Is that not setting them up for insurmountable trouble, sort of a bit perverted? Rev. Moon, as God’s most ardent supporter, how do you talk yourself out of that?
I know that I introduced all about the sex drive. However, there is no one sex drive, really, it is all a rather amalgamated issue.
Shuggs, but that does not undermine my or the Thinker’s basic suspicions.
Look, do we not live in the #MeToo age now? Women complain of being objectified by men and all that. They say that they are treated as sex objects by too many a fantasizing man, and not as whole persons in their own rights. It is all over social media, etc.
I think that when taking the sexual organs as a primacy, as THE fulcrum of love, life, and even lineage, we are objectifying the human attached to the organs. We do not accept the human as a person in his or her own right. I mean, what about a person’s heart or mind? Is it just all about the sex drive, carnal or divine, involuntary and predestined? Both books and all their proponents are guilty of that. The polyamorist and the absolute monogamist are guilty of that.
Well, boy, that’s what it is. Personhood is a fairly Western notion. You will be hard-pressed to find that in Korean history.
I honestly had no firm conception of the demeaning bias the Rev. Moon, as an Asian man, had about all humans. He apparently saw us, and himself, as mere dangling, generic attachments to our precious sexual organs. People were exchangeable arms, legs, brains and all, and only useful to their sexual organs in the scheme of the divine project of perpetuating a human, if not Korean, lineage. And perpetuating his own prestige as the one who pleasures God.
We are not Koreans.
What about us?
Look, I am one of you, with my spouse. Madison Square Garden, 1982, in New York. In retrospect, today, I feel fairly objectified. What the Rev. Moon matched was my sexual organ to that of another, a female. Did he care about me? Who knows, I do not believe that he knew me and my aspirations, or that he could ‘intuit’ me well in the spurt of that moment. I somehow seemed to have fitted into his scheme of matching and blessing a lot of members, people derivative of generic sex organs.
How could he be so successful, we wonder.
Well, get people to fall for your charisma, and then get them to follow a formula course of life overshadowed by years of sacrifice, by abstinence, that is, by sexual deprivation. When you then get ready to release them from that pain and suffering, they will be likely so unconditional and grateful that they accept any sexual organ of the opposite sex, hoping that love would come about in their marriage one day. At least, they can have great sex if they can get it on. It really was a demeaning, a debasing event for me, and perhaps for many others as well. Some, obviously, got lucky. I then did not have the words for what I already had felt.
To be honest, I was so fascinated by him that I could not care much about the coherence or implications of what he said or did. Call it naivete if you wish.
Look, I said that mystical experiences across diverse traditions tend to point towards the same kind of truth, that is, the existence of a greater, incomprehensible reality, beyond human experience. So, no need to put yourself down, Tom.
Is dinner ready?
Why, then, did you join the movement, and attended the matching?
Yes, that is the question I am still working on, that is, need to find answers to. Was I fascinated once, and then became habituated and obligated? Didn’t I have the guts or mental whereabouts to work on my own fate or destiny? Yes, yes, and yes. There is not much cause for blaming the Rev. Moon. Shamans do what they are meant to do, that is, fill a void.
Do you now think the Rev. Moon was wrong? A charlatan? Were you brainwashed?
Nope, he truly believed in himself. I would perhaps call him the big fish, a wizard of oz, a sage. Yes, a sage – why not. The term ‘sage’ does not presume a divine deity as the word ‘saint’ would. He sure was bigger than life for me once. He still is bigger than life for many.
Was I brainwashed? Hell, no. I fully participated in my Unification fate, believing that I would surely get benefits out of it for myself. And I have! I mean, how can one be ignorant of these veiled motivations and intentions and call oneself one day brainwashed. Only total losers can do that and/or those trying to monetize their haplessness or lack of fortunes. Not me.
Was I trapped? Hell, yes. But not so much by the Unification movement. I was trapped in my own mind, by my own making, really. I am still trapped in my mind, caged in by all kinds of norms and conventions, by the Freudian Superego if you will, etc. I am alluding to the existential trappings of the mind. Humans seem to be inclined to trap themselves, just look at all these folks trapping themselves freely in marriage. It was my choice to enter myself into a belief. Do you know what I mean? There is not much blaming anyone but myself.
Yes. So, calling the Rev. Moon a sex shaman is bestowing upon him an honor?
Well, yes. kind of. Wouldn’t you not like to be recognized as an alpha male?
Not sure, I do not have any of the corresponding endowments for that. I am a peanut.
The author of this blog, Tom Froehlich, is a graduate of the Unification Theological Seminary (Class of ’83) and is infatuated with musing about the phenomenon of lasting erotic love in human affairs.