The cults: Salvation or slavery?
What the new sects are teaching their converts Third of a series
Unorthodox religious groups led by resident messiahs or gurus ere attracting thousands of American young people. Thus article discusses the teaching of four of the new religions: The Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, The Divine Light Mission of Guru Maharaj Ji, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and David "Moses" Berg's Children of God.
By CARROLL STONER and JO ANNE PARKS
United feature Syndicate
Cults are not always, as they often claim, methods of expression for Christian or Jewish beliefs, or nondenominational churches compatible with all belief. In their initial conversion approaches, cult recruiters often discredit the differences and assert their doctrines are universal and acceptable to members of any religion.
Unification Church theology as set down by Sun Myung Moon in "Divine Principle" is not Christianity. Rather, it is a peculiar alloy of Christianity, Taoism and Buddhism which has its roots in the Rev. Moon's interpretation of Judeo-Christian scripture.
THE ULTIMATE goal of Divine Principle is the worldwide unification o£ religions into a theocracy, not incidentally headed by the Korean Evangelist who claims to be the second corning of Jesus Christ.
Church doctrine teaches that Korea, Moon's birthplace, is hallowed ground - The New Israel- and it has political overtones as well, for Unification Church members have been active in enlisting continued American military and financial support for the war-torn land.
The "Divine Principle" is based on the premise that man needs to be restored to God's divine grace, a condition he last because of original sin, and that grace can be restored by the payment of indemnity (penance) and the advent of a new messiah (the Reverend Moon).
ACCORDING TO Unification doctrine, Christ's crucifixion prevented him from marrying and beginning a perfect family of man. Therefore, he failed in his mission and it was necessary to send another anointed one, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Rev. Moon. Rev. Moon and his wife live on a large estate in Irvington, N.Y., have nine "perfect sinless" children who attend exclusive private schools in Westchester County.
Church members believe they are absolved of original sin through Moon's marriage blessing, the only rite in the Unification church which resembles a sacrament in the traditional sense. Hundreds of young people have received Moon's blessing in mass marriage ceremonies and consider themselves restored to the status of children of God.
The ultimate dogma of the Unification Church is appealing and hopeful for it includes no gory stories about the end of the earth and eternal suffering.
INSTEAD OF doctrine of spiritual life after physical death, the "Divine Principle" refers to a time when there will be no death. The spiritual and physical world will be one, united with God, in the Restoration.
There is a worrisome prophesy in "Divine Principle", that of an inevitable confrontation between the forces of good and the forces of evil. It is this twist of the Principle that especially concerns parents of young American Moonies who fear their children might go off to fight for their "messiah" in a war. The confrontation, according to Unification theology, will be a war between the forces of democracy and the forces of communism and it will take place in Korea, the birthplace of the Lord of the Second Advent.
The Divine Light Mission, born in India along with its young Guru Maharaj Ji, reflects Hinduism although it has no elaborate theology and tells the world it is not a religion. It recognizes all Gods, all well-known religions, but emphasizes the teachings of the Hindu scriptures, The Bhagavadgita.
PREMIES, as members are called, learn the Maharaj Ji is a messiah in a direct line of Perfect Masters that includes Jesus Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Lord Krishna and Shri Hans (the young guru's late father).
Followers of Divine Light adopt a life of celibacy, abstention from the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a vegetarian diet.
Maharaj Ji teaches God is the source of all life, the omniscient power residing in all living things. He claims he alone has the key to the knowledge of God. He promises premies that with this key (his meditational techniques) they can get in touch with this source.
THE INTERNATIONAL Society for Krishna Consciousness is a religion founded in New York in 1965 by its leader A. C. Bhaktivedanta, TURN TO PAGE A4, COL 1