Coming Monday on Part 2: “Lost in Madison Square Garden” of the Moonies (But Don’t Call Them Moonies) episodes:
At age 10, Lisa joined the Unification Church (aka “Moonies”) with her mom and little brother. She considered the church a haven from her chaotic childhood and embraced the lifestyle, preaching enthusiastically on soapboxes and sporting a pin to junior high featuring the leader Sun Myung Moon’s face.
“Things got better once my mom joined,” Lisa said. “My dad was a hippie, my mom was into primal screaming and encounter groups and would leave us alone and had some abusive boyfriends. So, it was scary, less than stable, less than secure. By the time my mom joined, I was like ‘wow, she’s wearing a bra, she’s giving us bedtimes, she’s being a little stricter.’ It was security and stability and rules.”
Soundclip with photo of Lisa:
She loved her community and wanted to do everything she could to support the church. She was proud to have the messiah and the truth on her side. But in young adulthood, she started to question her tribe and whether she could remain a part of it. And she put all that internal strife into her recent memoir “To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence.”
“People say ‘you don’t make the church look bad in your book sometimes, and I say, ‘I get that,’ Lisa said. “It was a wonderful experience and a haven in some ways, although I wouldn’t recommend it. And no, it was a cult and yes, you shouldn’t be in it, but in many ways, it gave me a sense of belonging and love that I was craving.”
Join us for a conversation with Lisa on Monday, Oct. 14 when you download Episode 3 of Generation Cult wherever you get your podcasts.