Ms. U, a Japanese member who was married to a Korean man who beat her
Hello, I will tell you about my experiences.
I was born in Japan in a village rich in nature. Due to the characteristics of the region, there were many dual-operated farmers and many average families. There were four in my family, including my parents and my grandmother. I grew up without any discomfort. I had a lot of friends and liked sports. After graduating from high school, I left my parents and entered a Christian college in 1984. While living in the college dormitory I spent my days devoted to my studies and circle activities [college clubs?]. However, there was a problem at a ‘retirement’ sports game in the fall of the second year, just before our job hunting activities began. For me, having learned through experience that the time and results of my efforts were in direct proportion, the problem at the game was like a disaster that suddenly hit me. It was my first frustration in my life. The other teammates continued as if nothing had happened, but I couldn’t forgive the person who caused the problem.
I read books and asked my seniors, but my heart was unsettled. I hated myself for worrying and not knowing what to do. Then I remembered the pamphlet I had received after I had answered a questionnaire which had been inserted in the student handbook. I made a phone call to what turned out to be a Video Center.(2) I started attending the Video Center and got a job. I was very impressed with lecturer Kurahara’s theory of the fall of man, and I felt something good was happening. After that, I got a job close to my home and went to work, so I had a chance to go out and dedicate my time [at the Video Center] in return. I wanted to commit myself more and more to their work.
I told my parents that I wanted to quit my job and do God’s work full time. For nine months I fought with them over the issue. Finally, my father brought a scythe like the ones used to cut trees. He held it against my neck, and yelled at me if I would go anyway, but my determination was not shaken. Even if my parents could not understand it then, I believed that the day would surely come [when they would understand], and I felt that I could not make the True Parents of Heaven and Earth (3) and God sad. My determination was further strengthened.
In 1986, I devoted myself full time and moved with the Evangelism Task Force Micro (4) for 21 weeks and with selling McCol drinks (5) for periods ranging from several months to several years. I rested only one day per month. I woke up early every morning to fulfill the church’s indemnity conditions (6) and spent the whole day working without rest. However, for the providence for the realization of heaven on earth, I had a sense of responsibility that if I did not do it and work with dedication, then who would do it – so I lived every day with burning passion. Sometimes I watched and heard my brothers and sisters fall by the wayside one by one. I also heard that they were like Adam or Eve who quit because of the pressure for donations issue, or that they were tempted and caught by the pastors who opposed the church, so I devoted myself to the faith even more, so that I would not lose the conditions that I had made to Satan.
Then, in 1992, after seven year of devotion, I participated in the mass marriage of 30,000 couples in Seoul, Korea. Hiroko Yamasaki and Junko Sakurada were in the same mass marriage. The Blessing is the most important thing in the doctrine of the Unification Church. [Through the ‘Blessing’ original sin is cleansed and children born are free from that sin. The fee which the Japanese members had to pay to participate in the ‘Blessing’ was $11,600. Koreans paid a small fraction of that fee.] I had long hoped for the Blessing and now it had been realized for me. My Jucheja (subject partner = groom / husband) (7) was the same age as me and was a self-employed man. I heard that his sister was in the 124 couple marriage Blessing [of 1963] (8) and she had made True Parents’ suits and had been invited by them to their home and had dinner with them. Then I thought it was fortunate that he was from a very religious family. After the marriage Blessing ceremony, I returned to Japan. Up to that time I had been doing financial activities to support the providence in Japan, but this time I worked part-time at a sports facility to earn living expenses such as expenses to go to and live in Korea. That job alone did not pay enough, so I asked for help from my family. About four years after my dedication to the church, my grandmother and my father had both died of illnesses and so my mother was left living alone.
My mother was worried that it would be nice if my subject partner (husband) was Japanese, and that I would struggle because of my marriage. Whenever I came home, I heard a cry from under the blanket where she slept next to me. But my mother’s worries did not change me at all. She eventually gave up on her daughter who would not listen to anything she said, and even gave me money so that I could go to Korea six months after my Blessing with the last group going to Korea.
In Korea, we gathered at a training center and spent several weeks until the area where we each would do newspaper deliveries was decided. In addition, my subject partner (husband) came to visit and set a time to meet and greet his family. But the day I visited his parents, I was suddenly guided and escorted to the hospital. It was supposedly to check my back pain which I suffered from due to a car accident when I was working with the McCol business, but I was suddenly told to get a diagnosis and return to Japan.
I had just came to Korea with the money I earned from part-time jobs and some help I received from my mother, so I could not understand why I was forced to leave. I could not talk to a Korean leader because I could not speak Korean, but there was a spiritual counselor I could consult with, who was one of the 6,500 Korean-Japanese couples. The counselor advised me that the initial phase is so important that it is best to do as I am told, and that there is at least a half year of training period after becoming a housekeeper – so I returned to my home after three weeks [in Korea].
My mother was surprised to see me returning so suddenly, but she did not say anything to me, as if she saw something in my face. However, I had a sense of crisis that my Blessing might break if things went wrong, so I returned to my subject partner (husband) again a month later. There, we talked to each other while looking up the words in a dictionary. His conclusion was that the Unification Church’s doctrine was wrong, and he gave up the Unification Church faith and tried to undo the Blessing. He said he wanted to save as many people as possible, and tried to convince me to quit the Unification Church. Then he started explaining why its doctrine was wrong. I was very shocked.
For the first time, I felt a small crack in the faith that I had held firmly without any doubts. However, as I consulted with my spiritual parents [the people who introduced me to the church], I was given a new order to witness to my husband again after pretending to leave the Unification Church. What would my mother, who gave me money just because I asked, have felt when she saw me come back from Korea only to tell her that I would go to Chiba to meet my subject partner (husband)’s older brother and that my subject partner is coming back to me? I was only interested in my own faith and keeping the ‘Blessing’. I did not realize how troubled my mother was in her mind.
Two months after I started living with my subject partner (husband), my mother took her own life. It was the time when my grandmother and father’s third year anniversary ceremonies ended and my mother could start living more comfortably. She had been exhausted from taking care of my grandmother and my father. She had been getting all the blame from relatives. I wanted to make my mother feel better by witnessing to her, but I did not know if that was wrong in itself, and, just like I lied to my subject partner that I had quit the Church, I should have lied to my mother to save her from committing suicide. I was overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings – the feeling that I was responsible for her death, the feeling that she had abandoned me, and many other emotions.
Most of all, the result of all my efforts for my faith by sacrificing everything was that I was in a miserable situation contrary to all my expectations. I could not even figure out what had really happened. As I greeted and spoke to my relatives after the 49-day ritual (9), they promised me that they would approve and accept my marriage if I left the Unification Church, and as long as I came back home and kept my parents’ rites – so I came home. My husband was initially all for the idea of me coming home with him, but he did not speak Japanese and became mentally unstable due to the closed atmosphere and discrimination in rural life. I tried a lot of different things and gave him encouragement to change his mood, but he started destroying everything.
He threw and broke trash cans, radios, chairs, TVs, and so on. And he also threw them at me. At first, he was breaking things once every few months, but as our child was born and it took more time for me to take care of our child, the intervals between his violence became less and and his actions worse. He also started to hit and kick me. Even so, I endured it all because from time to time he said he was sorry. But things continued and got worse. I left the house with my child after things became unbearable. At any rate, I wanted to go to the Unification Church and consult with my spiritual parents, so I went to a nearby church.
They told me to return to the Unification Church after breaking up with my husband, and I, who had been sacrificing everything to keep my Blessing, could not truly believe their advice. And I could not even go to church. After that, I thought it was because my faith was weak, so I kept consulting with my spiritual parents and reading homilies [discourses] on the Divine Principle without telling my husband. Over time the fights got worse and I was afraid to read any homilies. My second child was born while living for 5 or 6 more years as I persevered to keep my Blessing, even though I was told by my husband that I was a bad person and I had to change my habits first. The new baby was a boy, and my husband was also happy about that. He recommended that I go to a Christian church nearby, as if he wanted to renew our family by using this opportunity of the birth of our son to make a new start.
I had been enduring up to that point, but going to a Christian church was a turning point in my life. When I told the new pastor that I was a Unification Church member, he said he would introduce me to a pastor who knew the Unification Church issue well. He was a so-called anti-pastor. Meeting the anti-pastor was so scary for me that it made my legs tremble. However, my mind and body were exhausted from the repeated fights and my fleeing home. The children were also anxious, so I wanted to hold onto anything. My husband was erratic at his job, and our village no longer had enough work for everyone. So I moved for a new job, and then found I was in an environment in which I could really leave the Unification Church. Meanwhile I kept taking different jobs here and there. I agreed to my husband’s wish he had to become a pastor, which had been his childhood dream. He said that he would study for it. The study took him two and a half years. During that time I was able to consult with a new church and a new pastor until my husband returned. It had been eleven years since receiving our Blessing. It was not a simple task to admit that I had been mind-controlled, beyond what I had been able to be aware of.
Just as I started to figure out my life, I was troubled and could not take it when I realized that I had become a perpetrator after being a victim. Even if everyone forgave me, I felt as if I could never forgive myself. I wondered why I did not just stay in the church without knowing anything instead of meeting my husband. In my mind I kept walking down a long dark tunnel. Also, I realized that really I was experiencing domestic violence in my relationship with my husband. I started reading every book I could find on the issue while I was studying at a nonprofit organization group. During this time I drank up all I was learning just as a sponge sucks up water. I repeatedly reflected on my life. Expressing my thoughts in words made things more clear, as did the counseling I was receiving, having a more peaceful mind, and meeting and talking to former members (10) who had already been able to leave the Unification Church faith.
The last step for me was a fight against the flashbacks I had been experiencing. With the help of the pastor, I was able to thoroughly overcome the flashbacks. At the end of my rehabilitation, I received a call from my husband saying that he had given up his dream of becoming a pastor and he would just return [to Korea]. When I think about it now that there is no reason to go back to the Unification Church issue. I imagined that if I received the same domestic violence as before, I would have resisted him with a weapon because I did not have enough strength to protect myself. In other words, I think I would have been in the same situation as Miyuki Park who killed her abusive husband (11).
This kind of situation is not unique to a person like Miyuki Park, and it me hurts to think that, if I had been in the same circumstances, I might do the exact same thing. I think this is the problem with the “Blessing”. I think there are still many church sisters who are suffering and troubled under these same circumstances. I cannot help but think that there might have been something to help a person like Park. [The local Unification Church in Korea did not support her although she asked for help many times, according to an extensive magazine report.] At that time, I was able to confess to a Domestic Violence counselor that if something went wrong I would have attacked with a knife. I had calmed down by the time the day came when my husband returned home. I had been encouraged by the words of others that this marriage would not work out in the future, and that the children did not need such a father who had so many problems. So I decided to divorce him and I left the house.
I went to see a lawyer who knew the Unification Church problem very well. Since my husband never came to the court, the divorce was decided unilaterally. It had been 26 years since I had dedicated myself to the church. I was feeling so tired after I had suffered through all the mind control that I could not even stand on my feet due to the fact that I could never recover the days I had lost. But now I am feeling a bit better and living a life that gives me value. Pastors, lawyers and volunteers who deal with Unification Church issues, former members who were able to leave the Church, and those who I have not met yet but know through their blogs – they all are the reason that I can now stand here as a free person. I hope many more people can be rescued from the Unification Church.
1) There is a term used to describe a married couple consisting of a Korean man and a Japanese female church member. Sometimes the Korean men were not Unification Church members, or just pretended to be members in order to get a wife. Fees of between $2,000 and $10,000 have been paid by families to obtain wives for their sons from the Unification Church – which distributed flyers offering to find wives. The market for wives has been created by a gender imbalance in Korea of up to 1 million fewer women than men of marriageable age. There have been United Nations agency reports on the cultural difficulties that foreign wives of Korean men have faced, and the fees paid to the Unification Church are documented.
2) Video Center. A facility where the identity of the Unification Church is hidden and witnessing is done by showing videos.
3) The title used by members to describe Leader Sun Myung Moon and his wife.
4) Abbreviation for economic activities such as traveling (and living) in a microbus and fundraising. (MFT)
5) McCol is a Korean company which makes barley based drinks. It is owned by the Unification Church.
6) Donations are also to be made to pay for one’s sins (and to liberate ancestors).
7) After mass marriages, Jucheja (subject partner) is the title brides are told to call their grooms/husbands. Women are called object partners.
8) The 124 couples mass marriage was the third held by the Unification Church, after the 36 and 72 couples.
9) The family of the deceased are in a period of mourning for 49 days after the funeral. Once a week they visit the grave to place fresh flowers and to burn incense. On the 3rd, 7th and 49th days they have a short memorial service at the grave, led by the Shinto priest.
10) Those who leave the Unification Church.
11) Miyuki Park was a Japanese member who was matched and married to an abusive unemployed alcoholic Korean man by the Unification Church. She asked for support from the local church but was not given any practical help. She had to work hard at low paid jobs to pay for all her husband’s medical bills. It was said that she was treated worse than their dog. In the end she murdered her husband by smothering him while he was sleeping. She is currently serving time in prison in Korea. See link to a Japanese magazine article about her.