40 Years in America

The First Blow

Marilyn Mueller Okoda

I joined Unification Church in Seattle, WA in January 1976 when I was 25 years old. I lived and worked with the Church family there for about two and a half years. We did a lot of witnessing and fundraising and our center was one of the most successful in America at that time.

Before the church, I was a professional nurse and had worked in nursing for three years. I had lived on my own for that amount of time so I was experienced in the practicalities of daily living in the outside world. For this reason, I was chosen to go around to the different townships and cities and establish permits for our fundraising teams. I would get dressed up in a suit and high heels and visit county or city clerks to file the necessary documents. Sometimes I would even visit the mayors of the smaller towns.

One day I set up an appointment with a small town mayor -- so small that his office was in his own home. This particular town was very difficult to get the permission necessary for fundraising. I was received by the secretary and told to wait for "His Honor."

I waited about 10 minutes and then in walked a type of Paul Buyan. A big, middle-aged man, with a plaid wool shirt and a big jovial smile. He came right over to me, as I stood to meet him and with a big strong hand, he reached to shake my tiny hand in greeting. "Good afternoon, your honor," I said with an equally big and warm smile. "I am Marilyn Mueller and I am with the Unification Church." Before I could even finish the word church, his face had changed to red, make that maroon, make that purple, all in an instant. His smile was on the way down to a grimace. He then picked me up with his big bulky hands. He grabbed the back of my suit collar, like a mother cat carrying her kitten with her mouth, and lifted me up and threw me out of his office.

With high heels on, I could barely maintain my balance. I missed all the steps of his porch and landed on the sidewalk on one foot and my knee hit the pavement. It all happened so fast that I just stood up and straightened my clothes and walked away from his house. I heard him shout, "And donít come back!"

After about 2-3 minutes as I was collecting my thoughts, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I said a short prayer that God could forgive him for he really did not know what he was doing. And then I went home -- to the center and reported to my central figure, Tom McDevitt. Tom called the town clerk and reported what the mayor had done to me. Realizing the seriousness of the mayorís actions, the clerk invited us to the next town meeting.

The result of all this was that because of the improper actions of the mayor, and in order to avoid a lawsuit, the town gave our fundraising teams unlimited permission to fundraise. I hold no resentment towards the mayor but I think that it should be recorded for history what the early followers of Father went through. Also, Godís followers take the first blow but are victorious in the end.

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