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Sep 3, 2012

No, not the Moon, but Mr. Moon. (1979-2012)

To mark the death of Sun Myung Moon, founder of the The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, I am posting this excerpt from my travel journal written in 1979 during a hitchhiking trip around Canada and the USA. The post describes my encounter with the Moonies in San Francisco.

August 6 1979
Day: 41
Weather: am: Sun (Hot) pm: Sun (Hot – 95F)

As soon as I got my money, I went to McDonald’s. I was devouring my friendly meal when a young couple came and sat with me. They did not have trays of food with them. They were Sam and Julie and they said they were with the C.A.R.P. (The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles). They were really nice and wanted me to join them at their house for a lunch. I gulped the last bite of my hamburger and said okay. They had a huge house, up on a hill, and there were a lot of people already there. I mean the whole place was filled with people my age, on the couches, on the floors, in all of the rooms. Everybody was smiling and talking to each other, it was a really nice feeling. A woman was walking through the crowd with a platter of tuna sandwiches. I was still hungry and I grabbed a couple. Then somebody stood up on a chair and said: “Now let’s welcome our distinguished speaker.” We all gave a round of applause. The speaker arrived pulling a black board on wheels behind him. He looked like a professor, a stocky man with a dark goatee. He got into the matter of things very quickly. He said that he was really pleased to be here with us and was going to explain God’s Nature. He started to scribble things with his white chalk; circles, squares, connecting lines and whirlpools of energy. He was quite involved with his presentation. He spoke about the Divine Principle, Sin, and the Internal and External Form of Things. He talked about Mr. Moon. I thought that he was talking about going to the moon or something like that. I asked Sam for some clarification and he said with a big smile: “No, not the Moon, but Mr. Moon. He is the New Messiah.” The presentation lasted way too long and the woman with the sandwiches was nowhere to be seen. We, the audience, had much more to learn. Anyway, at the end of it, the speaker said that the workshop we were going to attend was going to change our lives. That was the first time I heard about a workshop. I asked Sam and he said that I was very lucky to have come at this time because they were all leaving this evening for the workshop. He said that I should come with them. It smelled fishy. I said that I could not come right away. This was the signal for Sam and Julie and a group of others to try to persuade me into staying, into going, into joining, into being together, into following my destiny, into allowing love and freedom into my heart, and so forth. I finally made it through the door with the promise that I would come back for the evening trip. I walked back downtown.

I went to hang out in a public square. There were people having lunches, people basking in the sun, buskers of all sorts; musicians, acrobats and beggars. I met an older man, named Adam and I told him about my Moonie adventure. His eyes opened wide and he grabbed my arm. He said: “Jesus Christ! You really went there? These guys are mad, they kidnapped youngsters like you and they fucken brainwashed them! Are you all right?” We talked for a while about the madness and the danger of cults. He told me that was their usual technique; ‘feed you well at first, and then starve you to take over your mind.’ Now that I knew what was going on over there, I felt like going back to play their game. I left a note with Adam giving the Government of Canada and my family the permission to remove me from the sect. I dated and signed the note and included my social insurance number. I told Adam, “If I am not here tomorrow at noon, I would like you to give this note to the Canadian Embassy.” Adam did not think this was a good idea but agreed to it. When I left he said, “See you at NOON tomorrow!”

I walked back up the hill right into the eye of the hurricane. The house was bustling with activity. There were white panel vans at the doors being loaded. As soon as I crossed the threshold of the door I was assailed by ‘members’. They were all very happy to see me again, saying that my return was meant to be. They kept coming one after the other, in pairs, and in groups and I kept saying no. Their hands were warm, their voices were soft, their eyes were kind. It was a real struggle to not succumb. I felt that I was tied to the note I left with Adam, that I had a responsibility to Adam, and my family in not joining. The time of departure was approaching, somebody was going through the house, in each rooms, clapping his hands together and saying: “Let’s go people, time to go!” There was a real sense of urgency and emergency. I ended up in one of the vans. A bunch of us were packed into the cargo area. Sam was there still trying to convince me, and I was still objecting. The driver of the van who was making fast turns, suddenly stopped and said to one of the other leaders, “Kick him out.” The side door opened and I was promptly ejected onto the sidewalk. The van sped off under cover of darkness.

May 7, 2004

Blog 1979 (2004)

[Jacques Dubé, Jean-Marc Dugas et Daniel Dugas]

Twenty-five years ago I went on a hitchhiking trip around Canada and the USA.  I kept an obsessively detailed journal of my adventures.  The voyage started in Moncton, New Brunswick, on June 27, 1979 and ended, back in Moncton, on September 2.  During these 68 days I hitched 115 rides and walked 363.5 kilometers.  I ate parsley for three days straight, morning, noon and evening, with Jeffrey.  He had a pack sack full of it and was happy to share the green stuff.  One morning I stood half awake in a bank lineup in San Francisco only to be shaken by the biggest earthquake there in 68 years.  I got robbed a couple of times, once by an ex Hell’s Angel who was mad that I did not carry a camera.  I got kicked out of a crowded van, in the middle of the night by a troop of Moonists en route for a “retreat” in the Valley.  I made a big mistake by putting my hand in Teresa’s pants while sleeping in the back of a transport truck.  The truck driver was giving Byron, his girlfriend Teresa and me a ride from South Carolina towards New York… My rudimentary English of that time, my mouth harp, and my innocence probably saved my life many times.


Recently while cleaning some old boxes I found the journal, which I thought was lost long ago. This blog re-tells some of my stories.


Starts again: June 27, 2004


see blog


Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son treizième recueil de poésie « émoji, etc. » / « emoji, etc. » vient de paraître aux Éditions Basic Bruegel.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico, and Australia. His thirteenth book of poetry, 'émoji, etc.' / 'emoji, etc.' has been published by the Éditions Basic Bruegel Editions.

Date : Mars / March 2022
Genre : Poésie / Poetry
Français / English

émoji, etc. / emoji, etc.

Date: Mai / May 2022
Genre: Vidéopoésie/Videopoetry