'Christian' missionary cult targets J'lem kids with party - report

The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles passed out flyers for a "fun night of games and discussion" last week.

 Members of Unification Sanctuary Church attend a sermon by Hyung Jin Sean Moon, a South Korean-American local pastor and co-founder of Unification Sanctuary Church, after praying for the re-election of U.S. President Donald Trump in Greeley, Pennsylvania, US. (photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)
Members of Unification Sanctuary Church attend a sermon by Hyung Jin Sean Moon, a South Korean-American local pastor and co-founder of Unification Sanctuary Church, after praying for the re-election of U.S. President Donald Trump in Greeley, Pennsylvania, US.
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)

"Missionaries" from The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles were seen handing out flyers to youths in Jerusalem inviting them to an event, according to a post on Facebook that attached the flyer.

The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, otherwise known as CARP, is an American organization founded by Sun Myung Moon who was a self-labeled "messiah" and founder of the Unification Church.

CARP is a US-based 501(c)(3) certified non-profit organization whose stated vision is "for every college student in America to live a Principled Life, as defined by our 3 Core Principles:

"God - Renew our spirituality through seeking truth and relating with God as our Parent.

"Family - Realize one family under God through practicing integrity and true love.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks, Las Vegas, NV, USA on April 4, 2010 (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks, Las Vegas, NV, USA on April 4, 2010 (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

"Peace - Raise true leaders who create a peaceful environment and united world."

Apparently, however, they also have a presence in Israel and, last week were spotted handing out flyers for "CARP Night" which they advertised as a "fun night of games and discussion." The flyer teases the question, "[w]ill doing what I want always lead me to happiness?"

A Facebook user posted a screenshot of a WhatsApp message that included the flyer to the Secret Jerusalem Facebook group.

"Please let your kids know that many missionaries are out and about trying to invite kids to parties," read the message. "Here is an example of a flyer that was passed out in Zion Square, Jerusalem. Last night, missionaries were spotted in Independence [P]ark."

Who was Sun Myung Moon?

Sun Myung Moon was a reverend/social activist born in Korea. Throughout his life, he was staunchly anti-communist and advocated for family-oriented, conservative values. He also was a fervent believer in racial equality, and advocated for the reunification of Korea and the end of conflict everywhere.

He also claimed to be the messiah who had come to finish the work that Jesus was unable to complete. Furthermore, he was convicted in the US for filing false federal income tax returns and has been criticized for his relationships with various figures such as Richard Nixon, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Louis Farrakhan.

In 1954, Moon founded the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, otherwise known as the Unification Church. Moon's church, which today has approximately 3 million members who are often called "Moonies" (a moniker referencing Sun Myung Moon), espouses Moon's teachings, called the "Divine Principle." The Divine Principle presents itself as the next scriptural installment of God's progressive revelation that began with the old then new testaments. The church is also known for mass weddings called Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremonies.

The church is widely considered a cult.

Former Unification Church member and cult expert Steven Hassan gave an interview with VICE in 2018 where he explained that "the worldview of a member of the Moonies was very 'us' versus 'them.' 'We are the chosen, we are the elite, we are going to take over the world — only Korean will be spoken, all other religions will be abolished.'"

Hassan goes on to describe the Unification Church's recruitment tactics as deceptive and intoxicating. "This is a cult," he says. "This is how they operate."

In response to a request for comment, the member responsible for CARP Israel said that the organization is no longer called the "Unification Church." Now it's the "Family Federation for World Peace" and "evolved from being a church around 30 years ago [and now focuses] on bringing unity and peace between religions, countries and races around the world."

He freely adds, however, that CARP still does study Sun Myung Moon's religious text, The Divine Principle.

According to their website, CARP was established in 1966.

"CARP was founded by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon... The way they saw it, the passion that young people have is enough to move nations, and when young people commit to something, they are tenacious," CARP's website reads. These words have proven true. CARP is still recruiting, and now, it seems, these recruitment efforts have come to Israel.

There are reports from people, who are allegedly former members of CARP, that have testified to a reality that suggests that what the member of CARP Israel claims is not the whole truth. There have been claims that CARP operates by recruiting people under the guise of building a community that focuses on community service and other benign or leisure activities only to introduce religious teachings and shady fundraising tactics later on.