ith the highest respect and love, I call Rev. Moon "Jaja Moon." In the Ugandan context, jaja means grandfather or grandmother. Jaja can also mean one’s best friend and confidant. There is also the significance of a jaja being physically the oldest member of the family, closest to family members who passed on, a medium between the living and the dead, and one with the oldest life experience to share. The hypothesis is that the jaja is the most knowledgeable person and is skilled at stimulating others to gain knowledge on their own. Thus, the jaja is the best and most precious overall teacher.
My first meeting with Jaja Moon was at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS) in 1981 in Seoul, Korea. As Jaja Moon says, "We never know the providence in our lives and whether there are any accidental events in our lives." It was at that 10th ICUS that my eyes were opened to realities I did not know. I was so glad to be able to meet and learn from so many people. The many papers discussed and the different people met from all over the world aside, I noted that Jaja Moon was deeply involved with each of us. He made it a point to shake the hands of every one of the many participants. My interest in him has continued to grow. I am still in the process of internalizing a lot of his many teachings.
The 10th ICUS came at a point in Ugandan history when we were busy trying to rehabilitate our nation after the civil war of 1978-79. We were busy learning from anyone and desirous of receiving whatever aid we could get towards that goal. All we wanted was to achieve holistic development and rehabilitation in all spheres—physically, mentally, economically, politically, culturally, religiously and spiritually.
These had been shattered during the eight years of dictatorship (1971-78). During that period, all we knew was state terrorism. There had been many imprisonments and political murders. We had state security agents, then called vultures behind their backs, that terrorized the people. There were roadblocks everywhere. Freedom of speech and the press were non-existent. In such circumstances, anyone who could reverse and clean up the muddy situation was most welcome. It was around that time that the ideology of working for peace building was introduced in the country through the Professors World Peace Academy. The contribution of Jaja Moon’s philosophy of peacebuilding was more than welcome!
From that very first meeting at the 10th ICUS, he hit me as a revolutionary. The fact that he had bad press in some quarters made me more determined to try to find out and verify whether the things I read about him were correct, whether he was in fact a good man or an evil one.
He reminded me of one of our ancestors, King Kabalega, who in the 1880s distinguished himself as a revolutionary because of his stance against the oppressive colonial system. After fighting a guerrilla war against the system for nearly ten years he was betrayed by a brother king, Mwanga. Strangely enough both ended up suffering a lot and were taken into exile by the same colonial powers. Kabalega never returned home alive. To the people, however, he remains a hero and patriot along the recent lines of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
In learning about Jaja Moon, certain aspects are very clear. There is his uncompromising determination to fulfill what he knows to be the will of God, preferring to do what he knows God said to him rather than what people, including even his family members, friends and enemies, say to him. In carrying out his God-given mission, he was imprisoned six times. Besides, many times he has suffered terrible rejections and persecution.
He is a very strong protagonist for the value of altruism. He testifies that he has been able to do whatever he has done not with his own abilities but by the power of God. His teachings are aimed at helping people overcome problems of negative individualism, moral corruption, racism, tribalism, materialism, Marxism, and all sorts of godlessness. His teachings are non-sectarian.
In the context of the family and institution of marriage in Uganda, the biological blood-mix that involves all families is the norm. Marriages are traditionally exogamous (outside of one’s immediate clan group). It is the parents who match their children. For almost all ethnic groups, to marry someone from one’s own kika (clan) or one’s mother's clan is taboo, and not done without great penalty.
Despite this, there is a historical phenomenon that discouraged a wider exogamy beyond religious bika (tribes). Similarly, Muslims are taught not to associate with non-Muslims. Christians did the same to other religions, and this teaching sabotaged many values of unity, harmony and cooperation in many areas. Terrorism came when the above-mentioned religions taught that association with the people they defined as kafir (pagans) would lead one to hell after death. This is how religious wars were started, and interreligious dialogue is still problematic.
Jaja Moon has come up with teachings that address this problem by emphasizing the parenthood of Isebantu/Mmabatho, the one God who does not discriminate against anyone. In attempting to adjust to the teaching that "God" is for Christians, Allah for Muslims and other confusing interpretations, the Banyoro have always maintained teachings similar to that of Jaja Moon.
Jaja Moon is a very strong advocate for religious unity—the unity of humankind (both living and dead)—under God, teaching that all nations and religions should reconcile, work together for the values of peace, happiness, unity and harmony. There are many people around the world actively practicing these common ideals of humankind. There are thousands of preachers in Africa/Uganda who are preaching similar messages.
Jaja Moon is on record for teaching those who want to learn. He teaches people all over the world who have the desire to live in goodness and pursue love, justice, happiness and peace. These are very good unchanging, eternal and everlasting values.