I want to summarize the information in the posts on the International Healing Foundation on this page.
I began to explore the religious affiliations of the IHF when several readers wrote to ask whether or not the IHF was a Christian organization. According to Richard Cohen, Executive Director of the IHF, the organization is not a religious group but incorporated as an educational foundation. However, the articles of incorporation have a clear religious tone:
Section 2 – Beliefs: Essential Beliefs of IHF
1. God, our Higher Power, is the center of the process of healing restoration. Without the power of God’s truth and love, true and lasting healing is not possible.
2. God created men and women to 1) fruitful – achieve individual maturity, 2) multiply – establish God-centered families; and 3) take dominion over creation with true love.
In comparison, note this passage from Sun Myung Moon’s Divine Principle (the primary non-biblical text for Unificationists):
These are the three great blessings: to be fruitful (mature and ready to bear fruit), multiply and have dominion over the creation. Had Adam and Eve obeyed this divine mandate and built the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no doubt that God would have felt the greatest joy as His sons and daughters rejoiced in the world of His ideal.
In traditional Christianity, the purpose of humanity is “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” (Westminster Catechism). IHF as well Unificationist thought misses the main point from the beginning. Moreover, in Unificationist theology, Adam did not succeed to create blessed families, Jesus did not succeed either, and so it is up to Rev. and Mrs. Moon and their followers to create blessed families in pursuit of world peace. Jesus was God’s son and sacrificed himself for our spiritual salvation but the Moons have come to complete the vision of God. Creating and nurturing blessed families is central to the Unificationist movement. Being blessed and matched properly is important for the success of these families. The Moons are True Parents and Rev. Moon is referred to as “Father” by those in the movement.
In the past, the IHF has been considered an organization with connections to the Unification movement of Sun Myung Moon. However, Mr. Cohen and IHF Assistant Director and former board member, Hilde Wiemann, have denied involvement with the Unification Church and movement since 1995, saying they left the church at that time. In 2000, the IHF was removed from the Hassan list of Moon connected groups.
Recently, after I became aware that Mrs. Wiemann was listed by the Blessed Family Department of the UC* as the national co-director of Coaching Ministries for the Unification Church (recently altered to read “H. Wiemann”), I began to research more the extent of the possible involvement. I asked Mr. Cohen if any of his staff, board members or himself were currently a part of the UC and he denied any involvement for himself or staff. When I asked him directly about Mrs. Wiemann’s involvement with the coaching ministry, my email was returned with the message: “ihf90 IS NOT ACCEPTING MAIL FROM THIS SENDER.”
I then asked Mrs. Wiemann via email about her involvement in the church and she also denied being a member, saying she also left in 1995. You can read more of this exchange here. Regarding the Unification Church ministry, she said: “I have never been in such a position with that church. Furthermore, I repeatedly requested that they remove any reference to myself from their websites.”
I also wrote and called Jim Stephens, director of the Blessed Family Department of the UC for confirmation of her involvement but he did not respond. I cannot reconcile the information that remains on the website and was published here in the May, 2005 Unification News, the official church newsletter, with her statement. She followed up by saying that the references to her on Unification websites are based on occasional work in coaching she was hired to do by the Unification Church. She says the websites do not properly represent her and she has and will continue to ask the webmasters of these sites to change how she is represented on these sites. Indeed, she thanked me for bringing these references to her attention.
Despite her dismissals of these references, I do note that the article about coaching ministry provides the following description of each ministry that appears incompatible with a contractual position involving a person who left the church.
Each ministry is centered around one person or one couple that is a precious volunteer called by God. These brothers and sisters have come forward and believe that God has called them to serve through a personal calling in a particular area.
Other references to ministry within the UC are difficult to reconcile as well. In the 2002 Anniversary book of the Washington DC area UC church, she is listed as serving on the Family Ministry and Sunday Church School committees. The Sunday Church School committee has this charge: “To be a community of families that teaches and models for our children how to take ownership of God’s Divine Principles and live according to the values established by True Parents [Rev. & Mrs. Moon].”
One reference that Mrs. Wiemann indirectly addressed in her emails and phone calls was a description of a series of classes offered to second generation children (children of Moon followers in blessed families). The document is a 2005 report of activities of Unification Theological Seminary graduates, titled: September UTS Alumni News by Tyler Hendricks – September 13, 2005 (note again that Hilde has been shortened to “H.”). In referring to the Wiemann’s activities, the report begins:
CONSCIOUS LIVING, CONSCIOUS LOVING
As you know, UTS likes to honor the spouses of alums.
It is wonderful to see the wife of alumnus John Wiemann (UTS’78) being so active to help youth.
Conscious Living, Conscious Loving If this sounds intriguing to you, keep on reading……….. It is an invitation to all of our BC’s between 18 and 25 years old to spend time together for: fun activities/ exercises, sharing and discussions about hot topics, all for the purpose to get to know ourselves and each other better and learn useful skills for happy and successful lives. We will meet 5 times throughout the fall, every other Tuesday evening, beginning September 13th from 7-9 pm at the Wiemann’s house 12627 Kornett Lane, Bowie, MD 20715 301-809-0989 RSVP early, because we like to keep the group under 10 people, small, cosy and fruitful. “Aunt H.” will lead the group, assisted by Dasha Howell and Josh Berndt….
…More explanation about the gatherings: Invitation for your children in the age-group of 18-25. I always felt sad that there was not much marriage and family training when we were young blessed couples. Therefore I took much training in the field of psychology and family education throughout the years, became a Life Coach and then specialized in teaching Parenting Skills and helping families with teenagers in addictions…..The sharing in the group will be about issues of life like:
* Who am I? What are my gifts? How can I discover them? How can I use them?
* What do I want and hope for life? Life mapping, Mind mapping exercises, collages….
* What does a Blessing, blessed family life, etc.mean to me?
* Which way would I like to get matched: by TF [True Father], my parents only, or do I want to interview the potential spouse? If so, what are my questions and what purpose do my questions have?
* Do I understand the difference between “being in love” and “learning to love”
* Triggers, Communication skills, conflict resolution
* Which friends do I choose? What does friendship and relationship mean to me?
* ……..and the list goes on. We might not cover all that during the few get togethers, but it is a beginning to stir up something amongst the young BC’s, young couples or couples to be, that there are things to learn… and the earlier the better. We had great fun in our planning meeting and already know more about each other. At the end we realized that we should do this for some time amongst ourselves, but then we can invite young people from school, college, old friends from the neighborhood and promote Father’s vision and teach God’s way of marriage and living. How about that?
With much love, H. Wiemann
When I asked Mrs. Wiemann about the reference to promoting “Father’s vision,” she said when she is with Unificationists, she uses “Father” and when she is with Catholics, she says, “Holy Father.” I believe most people would understand that these are two different references and throughout the Unificationist literature, a reference to Father in caps, is a reference to Rev. Moon.
In 2002, Mr. & Mrs. Wiemann joined a high level group of Unificationists in Washington DC for a 4 day workshop titled, “Blessing Candidate and Parent Workshop.”
Thirty-seven Second Generation brothers and sisters gathered at the UFC Building in Washington DC for a 4-day Blessing Candidate and Parent Workshop the last week in July. The first day of the workshop was for both parents and children. Rev. Jenkins kick-started the workshop with an energetic and uplifting overview of the Blessing…This workshop featured a lot of interactive exercises and question-and answer sessions. It also combined vertical Divine Principle content with practical ways of communicating with others…
With the attendance of UC president, Michael Jenkins, UC leaders, Rev, Shanker and Dr. Yang, this is a very high level meeting. Although I personally do not know how the UC works, those familiar with the UC suggest people who leave the church are not included in this inner circle. While there may be another plausible explanation, I have not had a reply from anyone in the UC to provide their perspective. The reference to this meeting has been altered on the Absolutelove.org website to remove the names of Mr. & Mrs. Wiemann. Given that this event was reported in 2002 in the official church newspaper, it is a fair question to ask why it has been removed from this reprint?
And finally, Mrs. Wiemann was listed on the official church email directory until mid-October, despite the fact that this email list is updated frequently.
In the case of Mr. Cohen, note that I have documented the presence of Unificationists on his board as late in 1997, two years after he said he left the UC. Later in 2005, Mr. Cohen’s son, Jarish, promoted a workshop planned by Mr. Cohen for second generation Unification members and their parents. The Words of the Cohen Family website has also been altered recently to remove children’s full names and replace them with the first initial.
Normally, I would not comment regarding children or family. However, in this case of IHF, family is relevant because Mr. Cohen routinely involves his family in his promotional materials and in his books. For instance, if you can get all the way through this YouTube video, you will see his entire family chant that change is possible. On the IHF website, he has a picture of his family, which includes Jarish and his wife Yihwa Yang. Jarish and Yihwa are both very talented medical students. Yihwa is the daughter of Dr. Chang Shik Yang the former leader of the Unificationist Family Federation for World Peace in America and is currently the President of the FFWP in Korea, having been called to the Fatherland by Sun Myung Moon himself. Yang is fond of saying that Blessed Central Families such as his own are central to the success of the Unificationist movement. Dr. Yang was the key organizer of Sun Myung Moon’s coronation as the King of Peace in the Dirksen Senate building on March 23, 2004. This was a bizarre event where Moon and his wife were crowned by Illinois Representative Danny K. Davis and others as King and Queen of Peace.
This coronation of Moon is considered one of many achievements by Dr. Yang in his mission to America and is referred to here in this video clip of Dr. Yang’s farewell services, first in the Washington Family Church and second at the New York City headquarters of the church. I provide this background because Richard Cohen refers to his son’s return to the Christian faith in his book, Gay Children, Straight Parents. He advocates for a variety of principles in that book which parents should use to attempt to turn their gay children straight. His exhibit A is this story in the Appendix of his son’s return to family and faith. However, to which faith did his son return? It appears he rejoined the Unificationist movement as is clear here and here on the True Parents website. Most recently, Jarish is here with the Yang family in May, 2008 at the final service for Dr. Yang at the Washington Family [Unificationist] Church. In his book, the type of testimony being offered as a Christian is not made clear.
A reader sent this link to Richard Cohen on Universal Peace Television, a Moon controlled internet television network. Cohen is interviewed by Michael Marshall, a Unificationist and Editor of United Press International. Mr. Marshall’s involvement in the Unification movement is well documented. An amazing statement in this interview about half way through is “I can tell you why any man or woman has homosexual feelings. Give me three hours with him or her and I can tell you specifically what occured in their life to create these desires. It’s that predictable.” This video is also on You Tube:
It is important to note that both Mr. Cohen and Mrs. Wiemann have denied that these references indicate ongoing connections to the Unification Church and movement. Recently, Mr. Cohen placed this disclaimer on his website:
What I compiled here has been freely available on the Internet. Since I have begun to compile this on the blog, some of the pages have disappeared and nearly all references have been altered in some manner. In my opinion, all of the alterations to the websites appear to be an attempt to obscure but not completely remove references to the identity of Mrs. Wiemann and they all occurred after these references appeared in my blog posts. I have archived them all and some exist in pdf format. Readers will need to judge the meaning of this information and evaluate its importance for themselves.
I received an email from Hilde Wiemann yesterday with additional explanation regarding the information posted above. In her email she began:
I have been in touch with all of you about the issue of my religious affiliations. I understand the importance that you need clarity in order to give the right information to people who ask for help. I have written in length why and how I got reinvolved with that cult.
After several denials from the IHF that any staff have been involved in the Unificationist movement since 1995, this is a refreshing admission of what has seemed obvious. Mrs. Wiemann provided much detail but here is the statement she provided for publication:
I resigned from and left the Unification Church in 1995. For the next few years, my family and I attended various Catholic and Christian churches in our community. We joined New Vision Church in 1999. My marriage was in such a bad state, and not having any of my own family around since I hail from Austria, I turned to some old friends in the Unification Church. They listened and comforted me. I had gained much knowledge and experience as a trained Life and Relationship Coach. Eventually, they invited me to help other married couples and their children. This was done on a contractual basis, as I needed the work to help support our family. Over time, I once again became entrenched in the Unification paradigm. I was blind sided and had a tremendous lapse of judgment. Finally I woke up realizing that this was in fact a satanic, heretical cult. I exited there once again, and returned to my roots as a strong Christian woman. I thank God that he did not abandon me, and the Holy Spirit was always present to guide me home.
Again, readers will need to judge for themselves what relevance this information has for services they may seek with IHF. As I have noted elsewhere on my blog, Mr. Cohen’s methods have been strongly rejected by Exodus International and NARTH. Thus, there are other considerations in seeking assistance beyond religious similarity. Thus, as Mrs. Wiemann rightly implies, this page is provided to give information for those seeking assistance.
Richard announced in his Fall, 2008 newsletter that he is looking for a new director for the International Healing Foundation.
In a townhall meeting at the Bay Area Family Church, Unification church president Hjung Jin Moon spoke about Richard Cohen as a member and the foremost expert on gays in the Unificationist movement.
Groups who refer to the IHF
OneByOne – Presbyterian Ex-gay Ministry
Janelle Hallman – NARTH Board Member and Exodus speaker and referral counselor
JONAH – Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality
People Can Change – Journey into Manhood
Northstar – LDS - Latter Day Saint ministry
Evergreen International – Latter Day Saint ministry
PFOX – Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-gays.
Courage – Catholic
NARTH – National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality
*I use the initials UC to refer to the broader Unification Movement including the various Moon backed organizations. In a legal sense, the Unification Church is an umbrella term for several organizations that form a federation of organizations devoted to spreading Moon’s ideology and interests.