Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words
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Diane Benscoter is a former member of The Unification Church (frequently called The Moonies) who became a deprogrammer after leaving the organization.
“Diane Benscoter grew up in the heartland of America in a small Nebraska town with a loving family. At 17, motivated by her idealism and inspired by the lyrics of her favorite songs, she left home in search of a way to end war. She found easy answers to Life’s hard questions in the form of a religious cult commonly known as the Moonies.
In Shoes of a Servant Benscoter weaves a gripping story of her servitude in the cult, the deprogramming staged by her desperate family, and her subsequent involvement in the underground world of deprogramming– culminating in her arrest for kidnapping. Often humorous and always heartbreaking , Benscoter’s story carries the reader on a journey into the world of mental manipulation, providing compelling insight on how human vulnerabilities open the door for extremism."
I found this book informative and enlightening on two fronts. The first and most obvious was understanding how someone gets involved in an organization like The Moonies as well as the process of deprogramming. How can a cult take people who are just like us and change them so much?
The not so obvious thing I got out of this book was how many parallels I saw between Benscoter’s experience as a Moonie with experiences I’ve had and observations I’ve made in the way other organizations work. For example, my experience with a religion considered mainstream (although more cult-like than most) was more alike than different. I also saw parallels to many political organizations, especially those with more extreme stances from either end of the spectrum.
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four stars