Hideo Higashibaba left the cult he was born into when he was 22 years old. The Unification Church, also known as the Moonies, was founded in Korea by a man named Sun Myung Moon who proclaimed he was the Second Coming of Christ. In Growing Up Moonie, Hideo asks people he grew up with what their childhoods were like and shares his struggle to make sense of his weird sheltered youth and the person he grew up to be. Edited and co-produced by Quinn Myers.
Episode 7: Hideo
In this final episode Hideo shares his reasons for leaving the Unification and all he lost—and gained—when he left.
Episode 6: Katie
Katie and Hideo talk about Katie’s recent marriage to another second generation, the struggle to live the values of the church, and the innate need for belonging.
Episode 5: Ritual in the Unification Church
In the textbook definition of a cult, a group must have three things: a charismatic leader, insider/outsider identity, and shared ritual. In this episode, Hideo shares some of the rituals of the Moonies and what he had to leave behind.
Episode 4: Teruko
In the early days of the Moonies, members all lived together in centers across the country and world. But when the second generation were born many families decided to move out and try something new: being totally separate from and yet a part of society. That’s what the second generation had to juggle, all the time and every day. Hideo and Teruko talk about the struggle to understand identity and belonging as the second generation.
Episode 3: The Mythology of Reverend Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon was born the son of poor farmers in present-day North Korea and by the time he died ruled a global cult and was a billionaire. Hideo digs into some of the stories and legends surrounding the charismatic leader of the Moonies.
Episode 2: Jenn
Hideo and Jenn grew up going to church, Sunday school, and church camp together, but they had wildly different home lives. Hideo talks with Jenn about the pressures, guilt, and strict rules that guarded the childhoods of second generation Moonies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Phenomenal podcast! So heartfelt, informative and overall incredible I loved every second. I feel incredibly honored to have listened. A must listen!
Amazing. Thank you.
I did not know much about the unification church but grew up JW and now, decades later, still deal with the trauma of leaving everything and everyone I knew. It took me years to make the decision, having believed the rest of the world was a dangerous, evil place deemed to destruction. I also empathize with your listeners who have fond memories of their childhood, growing up in a bubble has its benefits in that way, but I definitely mourn not having a relationship with my grandparents/cousins outside of the religion.
Thank you for telling this story. I found this inspiring and moving. I’m hoping your healing continues. Congratulations on finding your courageous voice and your own path.