How I Was Prejudiced and Why I Was Wrong 

When my wife told me she was going to speak about Scientology at the Unification Church in Brooklyn, my first thought was why?

I had a preconceived idea about the Unification Church. All I really knew was that this was the church that conducted mass weddings in which people who had never met until that day became husband and wife.

The New Yorker Hotel
The New Yorker Hotel, national headquarters of the Unification Church (Photo by ZRyzner/

But the only “knowledge” I had came from a “news” story about the marriage ceremony. I had never personally visited the church, read anything about it, or even met anyone who was a member.

I knew the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But a corollary we should adopt would be “Never judge a group by a news story.”

When I entered the Brooklyn Unification Church, I decided to apply a basic Scientology principle introduced to me in 1968 when I first encountered what would become my religion. My friend, quoting L. Ron Hubbard, told me: “What is true for you is what you have observed yourself.

Never judge a group by a news story.

As I entered the Unification Church, that’s what I decided to do—observe the truth for myself.

The result was my entire attitude changed. The people in the congregation were welcoming, successful individuals, with obvious love and warmth for their families. At one point during their service, they showed a video of a conference attended by thousands of members. I was surprised as I had not realized the scope and size of the church. I had thought it was a small, fringe group of individuals, as some would have us believe.

After the service, my wife and I had lunch with members of the congregation. They began to explain some of their basic beliefs and how they applied their religion to help create a better world. Several of those I spoke to had participated in mass wedding ceremonies years earlier, and they all had created happy and successful relationships and families.

The more I heard and observed, the more my prejudice vanished.

That’s why I always advise others to do what I did, and be the wiser and happier for it. Observe the truth for yourself.

Bernard Percy
Author, educator, international lecturer, proud dad of three adult daughters, husband (for 45 years), and a Scientologist (since 1968). He has had eight books published on education and family relationships; he was a New York City elementary school teacher for 12 years and he has a master's degree in childhood education from Columbia University.