Confessions of a Unificationist
Most of the past publicity about the Unification Church (Unification Movement), and Reverend Moon has been negative. Jo Ann attempts to give an understanding of what this movement is all about, based on her experiences, and as seen through her eyes, and explain what made her and thousands of American young people join this movement.
She also tries to give a basic understanding of the Divine Principle (the teachings of Reverend Moon). She says, "I believe if the world knew even the basics of the Principle, we could see the way to peace on earth, as we could overcome the things that divide us now."
The chapter on "What We Believe" deals with questions humans have been asking from the beginning of time, including who or what God is, the purpose of life, our spiritual and physical bodies, spiritual growth, life after death, the origin of evil, the truth about the life of Jesus, the purpose behind human history, and the mission Reverend Moon said he was given by Jesus on a North Korean mountainside in 1936 when he was sixteen years old. The purpose of giving this basic understanding is to help make happy individuals and families at a time when so many people feel there is no purpose in life or ability to save this world from destroying itself.
Jo Ann also explains the meaning of the "Blessing," which refers to the well-known group wedding ceremonies, a hallmark of the Unification Movement. She was matched by Reverend Moon to a Japanese groom, and they participated in the Blessing ceremony of 2,075 couples in Madison Square Garden, New York, in 1982.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Jo Ann Crooks grew up in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Like so many children of that time, she grew up in an alcoholic home as her father (a World War II veteran) tried to deal with the horrors of war by drinking. She also grew up as a Catholic, and her early experiences of faith influenced her decision, as a young adult, to join the Unification Church (Unification Movement) and have helped her to continue in the church for over forty years.
She considers herself a "regular" member of the church, not a leader of any kind and a "typical" American. She has two adult children and two cats and currently lives in Tempe, Arizona, a city near Phoenix.