Purity Culture in the UC: “The Buffet” with Cathlene Bell on Blessed Child podcast

“In this episode I speak with Cathlene Bell. Trigger warning: we speak on religious trauma, suicide, the treatment of special needs individuals in the Unification church and coercive control. I’ve come to realize that even when the conversations are feel good conversations, topics surrounding the Unification church must come with a trigger warning. That is in part because the GOD in the eyes of the cult was framed as a suffering God. Although, this conversation is a wonderful one, it still comes with- a trigger warning. You can hear more conversations with Cathlene at the podcast Create imperfect anyway. Tune into her newest episode, with me, “Renee: On befriending your art”! https://open.spotify.com/episode/0ToWrJ51cD1n25Kt6D0mEN?si=3YoH68BWTBmNO55ZGenYZA&utm_source=copy-link
Find Cathlene on Instagram: @Cathlene_sublimates , @CreateImperfectAnyway
Questions and comments for this show can be sent to reneethomasart@yahoo.com and on facebook or instagram at @Renrobot.art”


Intro to Cathlene. 5. We grew up with the narrative of peace and saving the world. 6. Moon’s connections to North Korea. 7. Parents joined based on a dream, they would not have joined if they were told we’re trying to make this one man rich. 9. We didn’t decide who we would be until we knew who we’d be married to. 10. Sense of belonging depends on these stories. 12. Special needs brother. 13. Father questioning, left the church, then took his own life. The dream was too strong. Mother believed it was spiritual ancestral problems. 16. Mother never re-blessed. 17. Noble suffering. Always taking care of everyone else. Korean folk story of Shimjung, a young woman who makes sacrifices to save the kingdom. 21. Because of a special needs brother there was more pressure on Cathlene to fulfill all the blessed child responsibilities. 22. Special needs matching and blessing. Arranged marriage for special needs people is illegal as they can’t give consent. 25. Asked to give an offering child to her brother. Some good took place in special needs workshops but arranging marriages without consent is not OK. 29. Justification of suffering now for a happy forever. You can justify anything with that logic. 30. The winner is the narrative. Promise of perfect children but then special needs children made people question it, so a blessing for special needs children would continue the narrative. 33. Ansu for special needs children in Chung pyung who can’t advocate for themselves. 36. Magic in words. Story telling is a magic power and can be twisted into manipulating people. Need to surround yourself with good people who call you out on your bullshit. 43. Analogy of a kimchi and rice eating contest. We’re told we have to keep eating. Cult hopping. It’s like you are welcomed by another eating contest but you keep eating too much. So the problem is not what you’re eating, it’s how you’re eating. But actually life is a buffet you eat what you like but not too much. And sometimes you like a bit of rice and kimchi, there are things from the church that were good, which can be kept. Walk away from the toxic stuff. 49. We keep the fellowship from the church. 51. Will talk about migration next time. Cathlene starting a podcast called Create Imperfect Anyway. 

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