Rev. Moon is still dead

sun-myung-moon-funeral

From Moon’s funeral (or Seunghwa ceremony, in Mooniespeak)

Rev. Moon passed away four years today. I’ve written a bit about my past in the Unification Church, but in summary: Rev. Moon was a narcissist that I was raised to believe was the second coming of Christ, the Messiah. And four years ago, I was still at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan when one of my best friends, somebody who knew about my past as a Moonie but was never himself involved in the Unification Church, walked into my dorm room and told me that he heard of Moon’s passing on CNN. I was shocked. I kind of brushed him off, tried to act normal, and went to the bathroom and struggled to breath.

I knew Moon was sick—critically sick even—yet the news of his death still managed to shut me down.

I imagined this day since I came to reject Moon as my personal savior. I thought I’d get drunk and celebrate with fellow ex-2nd generation, reminiscing on the pure wackiness of our childhoods and properly mourn, celebrate, and go through whatever other emotional processing needed. I thought I’d feel a deep sense of relief and liberation.

None of that really happened.

I was in Michigan, far from the friends I grew up with, and not knowing how to react to this information. I wished I knew how to explain the fucked-up relationship I had to this man who gave me a ginseng candy once. I’ve bowed to his picture thousands of times, venerated him since birth, as well as spent hours praying for him to repent, and in darker times I fantasized about confronting him, sneaking my way into his palace in Korea and forcing him to face the facts of his shitty reign as messiah. My experience and history with Moon was complicated, to say the least. And I felt trapped with my truth and story. Yes, I was surrounded by people I loved, but people who didn’t get it. Not the way I needed.

Tonight there is a gathering for ex-2nd generation in New York to “celebrate” Moon’s death. I know that sounds morally vile, and perhaps it isn’t going to be the most godly of events, but I actually really wish I could be there. What I would have done to be there four years ago. Instead of trekking out to Brooklyn, though, I am staying in, re-watching old episodes of Degrassi, putting together my new apartment, and maybe I’ll drink a few PBRs in celebration. Not to Moon’s death, per se, but in gratitude for how far so many of us have come post-Moon. I’m continually inspired by my friends who grew up beside me and found their place in the world.

I won’t lie, Moon still has a constant presence in my life. I cannot deny the impact he and the Unification Church have had on me. He even arranged my parents’ marriage. Without him, I wouldn’t be alive. He may be present in my heart and mind for the rest of my life, but I will say that he no longer has power over me. I can recognize his voice peeking in my subconscious at times and I see it for what it is: bullshit. And for that, I thank God.

For the True Father

I can shut you out
of my mind
for only so long
before I thumb you
shouting in the cleft
of my inner ear.

My muse, my guardian
angel, the anti-Christ,
stocky brute, father
to my father,
Bone and Stone.

Who would I be
without your stain,
without your mark
on my own name?

By your transgressions,
I am saved.

5 thoughts on “Rev. Moon is still dead

  1. Vicky says:

    Very honest reflections Hye Sung and they bode well for your future. Blessings on you for all your work here. So many of us really appreciate what you’ve done.

    Like

  2. Rebecca says:

    I remember feeling absolutely nothing at the news of his passing and then shocked because I didn’t feel anything, and then quite liberated. In the end he was just a man.

    Thank you for these public reflections. I want to get my own down one day.

    Like

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