Facing my Moonies childhood in San Francisco

The Bay Area has a reputation for having, as SFist describes it, a “special affinity for cultism.” While some have leaned on the term to describe many of life’s experiences, from spiritual to culinary, we haven’t yet heard a first-hand account of life in a cult. Enter Teddy Hose.

Teddy grew up in the Unification Church of the United States, whose followers are more commonly known as the Moonies after founder Sun Myun Moon. Teddy’s father came to San Francisco as an artist in the 1960s, living in the famed artist commune in the Goodman Building on Geary and Van Ness. His parents met in the Unification Church in San Francisco, and moved around to other cities, to work for the church. Above, Teddy is pictured second from right, with his family in Tarrytown, NY. A picture of the Moon family is on the mantle—Teddy remembers their photos were all over their house then.

A few years ago he decided to go public about his childhood growing up in the Moonies, and he has since appeared in documentaries for A&E and Netflix to provide an insider’s perspective on cults.

On the podcast today, Teddy shares his story of returning to San Francisco as an adult to start his life as an artist. San Francisco was, ultimately, the best place for him to examine his family’s past and the imprint it has left on him today.

Listen to the podcast episode:


Above, Teddy living the ’90s dream on guitar—”churchy,” he describes it. Below, Teddy and his fundraising team from the church. Circa 1996-97, they slept on the roof of the van to save money.

We are bringing you stories about the people, places, and things that keep San Francisco ticking. Everyone has a story—submit yours by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or by tagging us @munidiaries on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

Featured photo via FoundSF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *