CRAZY FOR GOD: The Nightmare of Cult Life by Christopher Edwards

CRAZY FOR GOD: The Nightmare of Cult Life

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yalie turns Moonie and lives to tell about it. Edwards wandered out to Berkeley after graduation in 1975, and was recruited/seduced by a group called Creative Community Projects (a front for the Unification Church). Seven months later he was a malnourished zombie selling flowers for his Heavenly Father in the streets of San Francisco, when his earthly father kidnapped him and took him to a Holiday Inn, to be deprogrammed by the redoubtable Ted Patrick. The treatment worked: not only did Edwards recover from his traumatic experiences, he's now about to cash in on them. His story is written in vivid, straightforward journalese, with a lot of deftly reproduced dialogue. Edwards captures the tone of Moon's lecturing ""theologians"" (stupefying), of the group cheerleaders (naively cunning), and of the lost souls like himself (spacey), and he makes the reader feel the weird disorientation brought on by a furious non-stop schedule of meetings, lectures, song-fests, back-breaking work, and insufficient food and sleep. But the world Edwards evokes is one-dimensional and cartoon-like. He tells us next to nothing about his own past, or about the history or personality of his companions. He never satisfactorily explains what he or anybody else was doing in the Moonies. And in his eagerness to show how he kept his wits about him while the other devotees were swallowing Moon's maniacal doctrines whole, he makes his conversion, which was real, seem unbelievable. Edwards majored at Yale in psychology and philosophy, but he displays a crude and pretentious ignorance of both subjects. Still, when he sticks to the scene in front of his nose--as he usually does--he gives us a lively sense of the glassy-eyed hysteria and numbing oppression of ""cult life.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1979
Publisher: Prentice-Hall