Beth Axton was searching for God when she was invited to a meeting at the Unification Church. She was quickly sucked in and persuaded that for her salvation she not only needed to attend the meetings but hand over everything she had to the group. Until Jesus stepped in…
The greatest discovery a person can make is the realisation that Jesus came to this earth to rescue us and that our life can be gloriously transformed by inviting Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, to come into our life.
I grew up in a small village called Upton in Oxfordshire in the 1960s. I ran free with endless other village children and knew every nook and cranny of the little lanes and streams. As I got older I thought deeply about life and in my heart I longed to find God and the great meaning to life. Where was God? What religion had really found him and where could I find him? At 20 years old I became a secretary at a laboratory where they were researching how to harness the energy of the split atom for a peacetime energy resource. I loved my work and had many friends there.
One day in November 1971, I was approached by a young man in Reading who invited me to some meetings, to discover life’s great answers. He said they were Christians living like the apostles in the book of Acts and shared all things in common. They were called The Unification Church but have had many name changes and they are mostly known as The Moonies after their then leader Sun Myung Moon, who is now deceased.
Within a week I was asked to hand over everything in my bank accounts and to get another job and have my salary paid to them.
I attended the first meeting and, at first, they were all smiles. But that all stopped as the intensity of the meeting started and I felt very uncomfortable. There was an unnatural atmosphere and I felt something was wrong. I didn’t want to go back but they persistently hounded me and said it was vitally important that I returned to the meetings as it was the will of God. They said all the spirits of my ancestors were suffering and depending on me to make restitution for them as well as myself. According to them I was headed for hell and everything depended on me attending these meetings and joining them.
I eventually caused my family great distress by leaving my work and home and joining them for what proved to be a life of misery. Within a week I was asked to hand over everything in my bank accounts and to get another job and have my salary paid to them. We slept on floorboards for only two to three hours a night and fasted continually, but nothing seemed to satisfy to make enough restitution. As time went on I was completely drained and exhausted.
These groups often use an insidious mind control and a psychological coercion and hire reputable premises for their meetings.
About six months later I found an open church and prayed to Jesus to help me. Nothing happened just then but my prayer was heard and a little while later I met a young man who invited me to a Christian Fellowship meeting. There my life was thankfully transformed as I listened to people telling how Jesus had come into their lives and set them free. Afterwards the minister invited me to follow him in a prayer of repentance and invite Jesus into my life. It was the best thing I ever did and since that day I have followed Jesus with all my heart and known his blessing on my life. Later I wrote my book.
There are many of these types of groups masquerading as Christians, they often use an insidious mind control and a psychological coercion and hire reputable premises for their meetings. Be alert and let the words of Jesus speak to us: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My Name saying, ‘I am the Christ’, and will deceive many.” Mathew 24.
You can hear more of Bethany’s story in her book Why I Left the Moonies Paperback How One Former Member of The Unification Church Found Freedom in Christ, available here.