Megyn Kelly TODAY | Unification Church member details getting out, finding happiness
Lisa Kohn became a member of the controversial Unification Church when her mother joined in the 1970s. Life in the church was full of hope until she began asking questions about its beliefs. Kohn, who details her experience in her book to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, joins Megyn Kelly TODAY to share her internal struggles faced when trying to leave and how she found happiness when she did.
Radnor Memorial Library | to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence
Hear Lisa’s story of a childhood torn between two worlds. Her early years in the 1970s in New York City with encounter groups, macrobiotic diets, communes, Indian ashrams, and watching naked actors on off-Broadway stages during the musical Hair. By the time she was 10, her mother had her pledging her life to the Unification Church (the Moonies).
Marie Claire | What it’s Like to Grow up in a Cult
Lisa suppressed her feelings for boys (dating was strictly prohibited), and first began questioning the church’s teachings when she was nearly 17 after attending a summer arts camp, where she made friends who were gay.
- Media interviews – Print
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- Podcasts – Video
- to the moon and back
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Fremont News Messenger | Faith: Kohn shares views and life story in ‘to the moon and back’
Lisa Kohn grew up in the 1970s within the crazy dichotomy of two very different worlds. During the week, she lived with her father, surrounded by drugs and sex, in New York City’s East Village at a time when the neighborhood was “seedy and scary.” On the weekends — but only when the church granted permission — Kohn visited her mother, a member of the Unification Church, whose members are better known as the Moonies, that Kohn learned to embrace and then learned to release. Kohn shares her story of growing up a Moonie in her autobiography, “to the moon and back.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer | October 2018 | Wayne woman’s memoir reveals fraught childhood under the sway of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
“Now 55 and a leadership consultant and executive coach in Wayne, Kohn has chronicled her tender years in the Unification Church — a cult, she calls it — and her indelibly scarred adulthood in a memoir published last month, titled to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence.”
GretchenRubin.com | “I Just Have to Choose to Notice the Good and Allow Myself to Enjoy It.”
Lisa Kohn had a challenging childhood. Her mother was a member of the Unification Church, founded by Sun Myung Moon, and her father was part of the life of New York City’s East Village in the 1970s. She was caught between two wildly different worlds, and this shaped the way she saw the world, herself, and other people.”
Fashion Magazine | September 2018 | Who’s Most Likely to Join A Cult? We Ask a Former Moonie
“I think we run a risk when we think that only some people could be susceptible to cults.”
Raw Story | August 2018 | Ex-cult member explains how she got sucked into a right-wing group — and her ‘beyond terrifying’ experience of trying to flee
“Lisa Kohn, a former member of the Unification Church cult led by self-proclaimed Messiah Sun Myung Moon, has opened up about her “beyond terrifying” experience of leaving the church while she was just a college student.”
Refinery 29 | August 2018 | How Cult Leaders Use Music For Mind Control
“For Kohn, it was paradoxically music – secular rock music – that helped her escape the Moonies. “He doesn’t know it, but Bruce Springsteen got me out of the Unification Church,” says Kohn. In her years-long process of leaving, she developed an eating disorder, became addicted to drugs, found herself in an abusive relationship, and nearly ended her own life, but she’s dead serious when she explains that music helped her reshape her mind during that highly confusing time from approximately age 17 to her early 20s.”
Daily Mail (UK) | My Life as a Moonie
Woman who grew up in the cult reveals her mom abandoned her family then married a near-stranger in a mass wedding – and sent her teen daughter across the US to help ‘lovebomb’ new recruits for the second ‘Messiah.’ Lisa Kohn, now 54, first came into contact with the Unification Church in 1974 after her mother attended a speech by Korean founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Bustle | If You Exhibit These 9 Personality Traits, You’re More Likely To Join A Cult by Carolyn Steber
“That is the insidiousness of mind-manipulation,” Lisa Kohn, a cult survivor and author of the upcoming memoir To the Moon and Back, tells Bustle. “Nearly anyone can be manipulated by the promise of a better tomorrow or the answers to their questions or a sense of their inherent rightness (or sinfulness).”
Counter Culture | December 2019 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Grover Silcox
Hear Lisa speak about her memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence and growing up in the East Village of New York as a member of the Unification Church.
i24 | November 2018 | Lisa Kohn Interview on i24
Lisa Kohn says her dad was an addict and her mom was part of a religious movement considered a cult. So how did she survive that? She wrote a book.
Watching the Hawks | October 2018 | Escaping the Unification Church Cult
Author Lisa Kohn joins the show to discuss her new book, which details how she left the cult of the Unification Church.
Dare to be Authentic | August 2020 | A Message of Hope and Self-love with Mari Mitchell
Lisa’s mother was a follower of the Unification Church, a cult headed by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Growing up as a Moonie, Lisa strived to feel safe in an environment that was unsafe and unstable. Through her recovery journey she was able to learn to love herself and know that she has damage, but is not damaged.
The Liars Club Oddcast | August 2020 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Gregory Frost
Lisa details her childhood indoctrination into the Unification Church (which most of us know as the “Moonies.”) She discusses the difficulty of writing about her family’s inner demons and her own spiritual quest for balance.
BadassWomenPodcast | June 2020 | Finding Your Own Authentic Truth with Lisa Kohn
Lisa shares her extraordinary story of being born and raised in a cult, and what skills she developed to heal, grow, and become an extremely accomplished leader. Lisa shares the details of her new memoir to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence and connects the dots on how her upbringing now makes her a compassionate and understanding coach.
The Speaking Show | January 2020 | Lisa Kohn Interview with David Newman
Lisa talks to David about her professional and personal journey towards becoming an advocate for authentic leadership. She discusses the initial start up of her business, discovering her business model, engaging prospects, and how her interesting personal life story circles around towards drawing in new business!
The Springsteen Podcast | June 2019 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Jesse Jackson
Jesse is joined by writer, blogger and executive coach Lisa Kohn. Lisa shares her #Springsteen story and talks about her book to the moon and back. This is an episode you don’t want to miss.
The Springsteen Podcast | November 2019 | The Return of Lisa Kohn
A few months ago, Lisa Kohn joined Jesse on the podcast and the had so much fun, they decided to do it again. In this episode Lisa and Jesse talk about childhood, parenting and Bruce at her Dad’s restaurant.
IndoctriNATION | March 2019 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Rachel Bernstein
Rachel speaks with Lisa Kohn, leadership consultant and author of to the moon and back, her memoir that details Lisa’s childhood in the Unification Church. How did Lisa feel growing up in a cult? Would she and her Mom ever leave or would they be lost to the Moonies forever? Tune in for a great story on growing up in a controlling environment, perfecting “that Moonie smile”, then developing your own point of view, and breaking free.
The Running Lifestyle Podcast | September 2018 | 227: Running Away From A Cult
Folks talk about cults everywhere from People Magazine, to The Today Show with Megyn Kelly, and now on The Running Lifestyle Show. Lisa Kohn, the author of To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence—also November’s Book of the Month—shares how being raised in a cult has impacted her own life, family, and professional contacts.
In Conversation Podcast | September 2018 | In Conversation With Stephen Hurley – Lisa Kohn (to the moon and back)
“Lisa’s newly released memoir tells a powerful story of how, over time, she has come to terms with a life defined by insecurity and absurdity and has learned to live a life of joyful presence.”
The Douglas Coleman Show | October 2020 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Douglas Coleman
Lisa discusses her childhood indoctrination into the Unification Church and talks about her book to the moon and back.
Dr. Doug Radio | September 2020 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Dr. Doug
Extremism of any kind can be so damaging to ourselves and others. And those caught up in those extremist situations can have a very difficult time escaping. And to be fair, often we can be in a “non-extremist” situation that we ourselves become extremists.
alteredSTATE | August 2020 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Tony Munoz
A riveting conversation with Lisa Kohn, author of To the Moon and Back, a childhood under the influence, who shares her experiences of agony, despair and triumph. Lisa’s world was split in two – her mother’s world, which was the fanatical, puritanical cult of the Moonies – and the world she was forced to live in during the week – her father’s world, which was based in sex, drugs, and the squalor of life in New York City’s East Village in the 1970’s.
Today, Lisa owns Chatsworth Consulting Group where she focuses on leadership consulting and executive coaching. She spends time speaking, writing, teaching, and presenting approaches to life and business.
The Daily Connection | April 2020 | How to Understand, Work With, and Love Your “Worst Self” Now When It’s So Triggered and Present
Hear Lisa speak about understanding, working with, and loving your “worst self.”
The Transformational Storyteller Podcast | May 2019 | Lisa Kohn Interview with Daralyse Lyons
Daralyse speaks with Lisa Kohn, who found her story of growing up with a druggie for a father and a Moonie for a mother heart-wrenching and humorous. Daralyse interviewed Lisa on her podcast, The Transformational Storyteller Podcast. So far, it’s the longest episode. Lisa’s experiences are enthralling!
Hippocampus Magazine | Review: To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence by Lisa Kohn
To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence (Heliotrope Books, September 2018) is a riveting tale of a young woman’s survival in—and out—of a religious cult in the 1970s. Coming of age is hard enough—but to do so with conflicting beliefs in a rigorous religious setting is a prescription for disaster.
Philly Life & Culture | November 2018 | Book Review: “to the moon and back”
As author Lisa Kohn’s debut solo book, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence is an autobiography about growing up in the East Village of New York as a member of the Unification Church, or the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. As Kohn put it, they were “the cult of all cults in the American age of cults.”
Lara Lillibridge | September 2018 | TBR Tuesday Review: To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence by Lisa
“If you have ever felt as if you don’t belong, this book is for you. If you have ever felt as if you have to twist and turn to get your parents’ attention, this book is for you. If you have struggled with self-destructive behavior in an effort to mitigate emotional pain, this book is for you.”
Kirkus Reviews | June 2018 | A Teacher and Leadership Consultant Takes Readers into the Crevices of a Cult
“If writing is an evacuation tool to process and understand abuse, Kohn has done an excellent job of producing a text that oozes with honesty and truth.”
AfterEllen | November 2018 | On Finding The Truth: I Grew Up In a Cult, and Left.
Lisa became best friends with Rev. Moon’s children and a frequent guest at his dinner table or in his pool.
For Every Mom | August 2018 | Becoming a Parent Changes Everything: 6 Truths About Raising Kids
“Becoming a parent is overwhelming. Often times terrifying for many. For those of us who had less than optimal role models in our own parents – or no role models at all – the terror and uncertainty only increase.”
HowToLearn.Com | August 2018 | How Parenthood Changes Everything
“She says: That may seem like an obvious statement, but many of us don’t contemplate it when we decide we want to have children. Instead, we feel the desire and choose to move ahead – and then the due date comes or we get the call from the adoption agency (or both), and poof, as if by magic, everything has changed overnight.”
Business Insider | August 2018 | I grew up in a cult — and there is nothing more intoxicating than knowing you have the ‘Truth’
“The best seats I ever had at Madison Square Garden were at my mother’s mass wedding, and the best cocaine I ever had was from my father’s friend the judge.” This is how I describe my childhood.
If someone is old enough to get the first reference, they know that I was raised as a Moonie — a member of the Unification Church, a follower of the self-proclaimed Messiah, Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Either way, they generally look at me a bit more weirdly, and often, as one new friend said, come out with something like, “But you seem so normal.”
Thrive Global | August 2018 | How To Stop – Or At Least Live With – Those Silly Voices In Your Head
You’re not crazy if you have “that voice” – but it’s certainly not helping you. There are ways to lessen its negative impact.
Thrive Global | July 2018 | How – and why – to really let go and chill this summer…even when you’re wired hard not to
“Summer is a time many of us look forward to and long for. Long days. Chilling in a hammock or on the beach. Barbeques, cold beers, time just hanging with friends…or playing with our kids. We remember the endless summers of our youth – catching fireflies, licking dripping ice cream cones and bomb pops, spending afternoons in the lake or the pond or the pool – and envision what a wonderful season we’ll have. | Then reality hits. There’s too much to do, too many emails to answer, and too many responsibilities. | And then it’s fall.”
Thrive Global | June 2018 | If Only My Younger Self Knew These 10 Things That I Know (And Am Learning) Now
What wasn’t on my mind was what would happen next. I knew I was headed home to New York City. I knew I had to get a job. Some kind of job. I knew so very little else – though being 21, I probably thought I knew a hell of a lot more.
What did I wish I knew then – my unaware, clueless self? Here are a few of the top things.
Third Age | June 2018 | 5 Ways to Break Free From Your Past & Embrace Your Future
I used to think I was the one with a past. You know, “a past.” A past that set me apart from everyone else and that had, pretty much, damaged me beyond hope. I was raised in a religious cult by one parent, while my other parent’s religion was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Two contrasting, competing, diametrically opposed, weird – if not harmful – worlds.
Hers Magazine | June 2018 | How to overcome a challenging childhood – and emerge even stronger
I am a recovering perfectionist. I can have a compelling need to get things “right” and make no mistakes. But we learn by making mistakes and by relaxing and letting things happen. It still can blow my mind that things can happen without me causing or pushing them.
Thrive Global |May 2018 | How to overcome a challenging childhood – and emerge even stronger
Growing up in a cult, your brain is filled with false truths and lies. You know you’re sinful. You doubt yourself. You’re filled with shame and self-loathing. Life with my father required vigilance. My role models there were dope-dealers and hippies who had my brother smoking pot at the age of ten because it would be “cool.”
She Knows | May 2018 | How I survived a cult
When you have learned and believed that there is a Truth and that there is “right” and “wrong,” it’s terrifying to walk away from what you have known as right. One of the things about mind control and extremist situations is that they teach you that questioning and doubting are signs of weakness and sin.
wf1: Women For One | May 2016 – Current | What will ease my heart? | There is hope after (and many more guest posts)
Not only is there more good news than bad news, there is more good than bad overall in the world. Sometimes it’s easy to think it’s the other way around, because that is often what grabs our attention. The bad news and the anomalies sell newspapers and are what catch our eyes. It would be boring if we counted everything that went well and every story that had a happy ending.