How does one describe what it is like to be born into a fringe religion? It has only been in the last few years that I have become comfortable calling the Unification Church a cult, and even when that word passes over my tounge it still tastes dirty. But it was only after years away from the church that I realized how outside of the mainstream we were born.
To fully understand what it is like to be born into this insular world, one must understand the ideology and the makeup of the religion. To boil it down to essentials, Rev. Moon taught that Eve had a sexual relationship with the Archangel Lucifer in the Garden of Eden, and that was The Fall of Mankind. This act constituted a change of blood lineage based on Satan, rather than God. Therefore, when Eve gave The Apple (had a sexual relationship) with Adam, this too was based on Satan and therefore they were under Satan's domain.
Therefore the children of man were also under Satan's domain.
The only way to be removed from Satan's Blood Lineage, according to Rev. Moon, was to be Matched and married (or Blessed) by him. Then there was a Three Day Ceremony, which was a sexually ceremony that couples performed in order to complete their lineal transition into "God's Domain."
The couples that went through this Matching, Blessing and Three Day Ceremony became the First Generation, and they dedicated their lives to working for what Rev. Moon called "God's Providence." Many of them gave up college educations and well-paying jobs in order to live out of vans and fundraise for the church, some doing this for up to ten years. Some went on to work for church organizations, dedicated to "dialouge between faiths" and "world peace," although books like Nan Sook Han's In the Shadow of the Moon reveals that many of the organizations were akin to money laundering endeavors.
The First Generation have always been strange creatures to me. Many of them left their families and their lives behind to dedicate themselves body and soul to an ideal. They tend towards fanatacism, but I suppose that a "black and white" mentality was needed in order to exist in the closed world that they created for themselves.
To exist in the church one must live within a Il-Logic Loop. If Reason is the enemy of Faith, then the Unification Church chased Reason into exile, and instead replaced it with their Sacred Text, The Divine Principal, which is littered with diagrams and statements that do a decent job imitating logic.
But there are holes and passages in the text that refer to the Bible, which don't end up holding up to their bold statements when cross-checked. The Il-Logic loop begins to go into full effect when one begins to ask questions that shed light on some of the holes or the unanswered questions in church history. If you question, you are "being invaded by Satan" or by "evil spirit world." Therefore in order to fight off evil spirits and win a victory for Rev Moon or True Parents, one might fight the logical mind. This loop continues in an ever tighter spiral until the mind is fully trapped within a warped belief system.
For the children born into the Unification Church, The Second Generation, we were at somewhat of a disadvantage. Without being given a choice in choosing our faith, we were expected to be born in the image of God and uphold the doctrine forced upon us. Afterall, we were the generation that God has been waiting for through all of Human History. We were born without Original Sin and born in God's lineage. Somehow, many of our parents simply assumed that we were absorb their strict adherence to faith through osmosis in utero.
We were different. We were Blessed Children. We were expected to be perfect.
Despite that fact that many of us grew up in unhappy families, where the parents didnt love each other but stayed together because "the Blessing is for eternity," it was a shock for many of the First Generation when their children began showing signs of dysfunction. My mother once admitted to me that she had no concept that her children would be anything other than perfect - that somehow by the grace of True Parents and the Blessing, we could have direct conduits to God's love. Therefore, no matter how ill-equipped our parents were to be parents and raise children, the rules of child psychology shouldn't apply.
But my mother seemed to have forgotten the diagrams of her own sacred text:
The above diagram of the Four Position Foundation is to illustrate that both a man and a woman are intended to have a relationship with God, in order to then give God's love to one another in a conjucal relationship. These are the preconditions by which a child is supposed to be born. Both of these parents are then intended to be able to be conduits of God's love for the child, so that the child can then build their own personal relationship with the Divine.
For many of us Second Generation this Four Position Foundation was more of an ideal than anything we could ever conceive of in reality. And yet we were judged by our parents by our own inability to comprehend and develop this relationship with God. If we were to know God by our parents' examples, then my God was an angry one whose love was conditional and who wouldn't hesitate to verbally or physically abuse me when I didn't live up to his divine expecations.
Infact the most painful memory I had during my time in the Unification Church, was when an elder Second Generation tried to insist that God did, indeed, love me. Instead, I determined, that somehow based on my utter failure to reach a semblance of perfection, and my parents' mercurial love, that I must have existed in God's blind spot.