Tag Archives: Moonie

Does the fear ever go away?

That’s the question I was asked. “Does the fear ever go away?”

It was an inquiry on my website from an ex-Moonie. I get them periodically. I love getting them. I devour them as soon as I notice they’re there, and then I reread them a few more times. My next step is to, usually, forward the emails to my older brother, and to then sit for quite some time with the fact that someone reached out to me again.

Finally, I’m at my computer to a) thank them for connecting with me and b) answer their questions as well as I can.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous requests for information – any information – about Jacob House and what it was like to be a kid there. Those requests are usually from kids whose parents left them at Jacob House. I invariably also get them in touch with my mother. She often remarks to my older brother and me about the pain those kids are in because their parents left them.

I get “hello’s” from members who remember my brother and me and also from some who don’t. I’ve heard stories of painful times in the Church and traumatic paths out of the Church. I’ve had a few people share with me their good memories as well.

This former member who found me – thanks to the blog post on How Well Do You Know Your Moon – told me her story of pain. Pain in the Church. Pain on leaving the Church. Pain since leaving the Church. Unfortunately, I think that’s the common journey.

And then she asked me, “Does the fear ever go away?”

Does the fear ever go away?

In my experience, it doesn’t go away. At least not fully. At least not yet. But in my experience, it lessens.

It lessens in how often it overtakes me and how badly it overtakes me. I am wracked with terror or waves of shame much less often, and when they wash over or through me, I’m more quickly able to recognize what they are and call them out for being false. It’s like I can stand outside of myself while also being with myself, and remind myself that it will pass, even as much of me is caught up in the turmoil and fear that it will never pass.

Does the fear ever go away?

When it comes over me so strongly that I can’t see – or know – anything else, I know to get help. I know to reach for the phone. To call someone who loves me. Someone who will stay by my side and talk me through the fear.

And then it passes. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes much too slowly. But it passes. While I used to live my life in near-to-constant low-grade fear, more of my days are now spent in love and joy. In peace and ease. I have the wherewithal to realize that many of my fears are irrational, and I have the tools to take care of myself when the fear feels so real again.

“Does the fear ever go away?” she asked. “Not yet,” I answered. “Not all the way away. Not yet. But it’s so, so, so much better.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Daryn Stumbaugh on Unsplash

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The horror of extremist beliefs

Last week hundreds of couples toting (I believe unarmed) AR-15 rifles attended a “Blessing” – a ceremony sanctifying marriages – in Newfoundland, PA.

This ceremony was conducted by an offshoot of the Unification Church – the Sanctuary Church – that is led by one of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s children, Hyung Jin Moon.

The AR-15s are said by Moon to represent the “rods of iron” referred to in the Book of Revelation.

Needless to say, I watched this unfold in horror. As it was mentioned in an online group I belong to for people who were born and/or raised in the Church. As local friends (I live in PA) sent me local news stories, of how nearby schools were going to be left empty that day. As friends in foreign countries sent me the link, with huge question marks.

Those who have read the prepublication version of my memoir comment that I don’t portray the Church as horrific. I will be the first to say that painful things happened to and around me because of Church teachings, and because of how Church leaders – and members – decided to live based on Church teachings and to interpret and enforce Church teachings. I do remember vaguely knowing that Rev. Moon owned, amongst other things, a factory in Korea that produced guns, or ammunition, or something like that. (It was clearly vague in my mind at the time.) But he was the Messiah, so anything he did was obviously God’s will and therefore beyond good. It was heavenly and divine.

In many ways, joining the Church was – which may be difficult to grasp – a relief and a sanctuary for me based on much of what had already happened to and around me. As completely messed up – and absolutely a cult – as it was. And is.

But I look at it now. I hear these stories. I know that – in my humble opinion and from my experience – Rev. Moon’s children (at least many of them) are understandably way, way, way, way, way screwed up. But I read the news, and my heart breaks, and terror fills me.

I have said many times before. I will say many times again. There is nothing more intoxicating than knowing you have the “Truth.” This “Truth” is what causes people to bring “rods of iron” into a church for a “blessing.” Just weeks after a similar assault weapon killed way too many people (any people would be way too many people) in Parkland, FL. This “Truth” is what could – I repeat could – cause these church members – or any believers in fundamentalist, extremist religions and/or philosophies – to use their weapons for “God’s will” or for “right.”

Any “Truth” that causes us to know that we are more true, or more right, or more divine or deserving…or more anything…is dangerous.

Extremely dangerous.

Which is why I write my blog. Which is why I wrote my memoir. Which is why I speak about this whenever and however I can. Which is why I want to help anyone who has left, and anyone who wants to leave, extremist situations. (And even those who don’t yet want to leave.)

In many ways my childhood in the Church was horrific. And in many ways, I guess it wasn’t. Or at least not only horrific. But any church – or any one – who suggests that shooting someone else may be God’s will? That to me is horrific. And that to me is not God.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

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Chill out already

Chill out already. Take a break. Put your feet up. Sit back and smell the roses (or whatever flowers you have nearby).

I don’t think there could be wiser words.

I believe the world is rampant with too much over-doing. I believe we all could – or at least I could – stand to take a break. A big break. A much deserved break.

I had a busy weekend. Last night we hosted a fundraiser at my home. It was wonderful and delightful and amazing. And a lot of work. Today was a mixture of getting rid of empty bottles and vacuuming up leaves that got tracked inside the house. All good but all tiring.

It’s time to take a break and chill out already.

I’ve recently found a community of children born and raised in the Church. I was astounded (for some strange reason) to hear stories that seemed so much like mine. “I thought that was just my mom,” I responded. “I thought that was just my weird thought.”

I realized (again) how much it was ingrained in me that all that I did was never enough and all that I gave was never enough. I was taught over and over (and over) to sacrifice more, work harder, shed tears and blood for God. No wonder I can have a hard time chilling out.

There is so much beauty that is mine for the taking, if I’ll just take it. There is so much joy and connection and splendor. There is so much peace and calm and ease. There is so much laughter and fun. As a child I learned that it’s wrong to make these simple pleasures a priority. As an adult I’ve learned that it’s wrong not to.

Chill out already. That is my mantra for today.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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