By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
The controlling grip of the Church of Scientology has been a buzz topic since Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced they are divorcing, and now a new show on TLC is lifting the lid off another controversial religion – the Moonies.
Mass Moon Wedding goes behind the scenes of the movement by following three young couples as they travel thousands of miles to South Korea to be blessed by their messiah, Reverend Moon, at one of the movement’s controversial mass weddings, and RadarOnline.com has a fascinating peek at the premiere episode as Elisa, one of 2,000 brides-to-be, describes how challenging it was to grow up with the strict rules of the Unification Church.
“Every girl dreams about what her wedding dress is going to look like and to be honest I never thought I would go for something like I’m doing now,” reveals the 22-year-old psychology student from Kent, England.
“There are thousands and thousands of women in white dresses trying to do their make-up and hair all at the same time. That is quite stressful! I am sure there will be a couple wearing the same dress, that’s why I’m making mine.”
Elisa is getting ready to wed Czech native, Andre. “He’s really funny, he’s very clever, he’s great,” she gushes.
She was assigned to her husband-to-be by her parents, who joined the Moonies movement in the 1970s and were married in one of the first mass weddings by Reverend Moon.
“Of course, we believe he is the Messiah, so to be blessed by him in his lifetime is… not everyone would get that chance in history. I feel privileged and very excited,” she explained.
“This church has really strict rules – no sex before marriage, no smoking, no drugs. I am still a virgin and it certainly was tough at school, I think for a long time a lot of my friends assumed I was a lesbian because I didn’t have a boyfriend when they did.”
In the 1970s Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Church of Unification, nicknamed ‘the Moonies’, became notorious around the world. Accused of brainwashing and aggressive recruitment techniques, the movement caused outrage when followers were matched to total strangers and then married at mass weddings.
The term ‘Moonie’ is now deemed derogatory by many members of the movement, but suspicion from the outside world remains. Through mass weddings, Moon claimed to be purifying his newlywed followers in creating a new race of sinless children. Now in their twenties, those children are preparing to be blessed in a mass wedding of their own.
Other couples who will be featured in upcoming episodes before their mass nuptials are Toby and Sunny from Ohio, who only decided to get matched three months before the blessing, Réamonn from England who is matched to an Argentinian girl he hasn’t even met yet, and Naomi, who is only matched with her future husband just days before the wedding – and he barely speaks English!
TLC’s Mass Moon Wedding airs Sunday, July 8th at 10/9c.