Friday, November 9, 2012

Rev. Moon: American women have inherited the lineage of prostitutes.

So in preparing to go through the next few chapters of this story, I've been doing a lot of exploring of the emotional terrain that these vignettes encompass. There is still a lot of pain, fear and shame associated with these memories. I've been asking myself "why" a lot: why am I so ashamed of something that I had so little control over? Why am I ashamed of how I survived?

In some ways I am overcoming the shame as I examine the memories, but it's still a bit of a ripping sensation to get them out of my heart and onto proverbial paper. It's a damn shame that our teenaged years were lost to these negative experiences, and the self-loathing that they induced. And there are a lot of things that I blame my parents for. But hot damn, then I read a little bit more about the actual structure of the world that I grew up in, and then I begin to seethe a bit.

The source of the shame is based in the culture and the theology. No one had to go through what my siblings and I went through to feel that same sour shame coating every single sensation of theirs.

For example, let's take this 1996 speech by Rev. Moon given in Tarrytown, Ny. He says "American women have inherited the lineage of prostitutes." If you read the speech, which is relatively incomprehensible, that line comes out of the fucking blue. The student in me screams "site your goddamn sources! Where in the world does it say that American women are descended from prostitutes? Where do you come up with a line like that??"

Here's a little more lovely context:

"Are you tempted by handsome men and beautiful women who pay attention to you? (No.) Actually, all manner of thoughts come and go through your minds. Father's conclusion is that many American women have inherited the lineage of prostitutes. But you don't feel badly about it. American women feel superior to and scorn prostitutes, but in reality these prostitutes are earning money, this is their job. However, American women are even worse because they practice free sex just because they enjoy it."

And yet people absolutely swallowed that.

I didn't attend that speech. I was 12. I was growing up in a culture governed by a man who arbitrarily  decided that American women were worse than prostitutes.

That explains a lot...I'm beginning to understand the origins of the shame.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Ticket to Heaven"

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading and processing. We're getting to the point in this particular story that's really difficult to emotionally unearth.

In the process of getting to that storytelling juncture, I've been thinking a lot about my parents and their journey into the Unification Church. In my reading, I came across the 1981 Canadian Film "Ticket to Heaven." There is this little voice in the back of my head, saying that someone told me about this film growing up, defaming it and saying how grossly inaccurate it was.

I just finished watching it...the deprogramming scenes are a bit heart-wrenching for me. As I mentioned in a previous post, deprogramming is a really complicated topic and involves violating someone's free will and rights. BUT we could also discuss how many religious cults slowly hypnotize people into giving up their free will and surrendering their logical minds.

The scene where they talk about unselfish love was really painful, but it was also wonderful in a way. For the most part my relatives respected my parents' choice to raise their children in the Unification Church, but there are times that I look back and wish that someone had taken the time to ask us kids some of the more subversive questions (or to show us what unselfish, non-conditional love was).

Anyway I'd say about 90% of what I saw in this film rang true in terms of my own experience growing up in the church. Some things were more austere, some less. A lot of the worship and workshop scenes, singing in buses and living in vans were very familiar.

The wrist cutting was almost something we were quietly taught as second generation when we were fundraising, but never in so explicit a format - so I have no idea if that was something that our parents were taught. We were told it was better to kill yourself than to be raped while fundraising, for example, and so some parents did give their daughters "purity knives" to keep on their person while fundraising. And THAT is a whole other story...

So, most this is probably right on the money for someone who met the church in the 70's or 80's. Take a look (Kim Cattrall is in it!):

And here is the NY Times article written about the film: