True Mother's Life
Bride of the Messiah
By Linna Rapkins
She loved peace and quiet. She loved reading and music. She was intelligent and studied well. Her life was quiet and protected. She was like a lovely, lonely flower living in a greenhouse, away from the rest of the world. Suddenly, she was thrust into the center of a noisy battlefield where those around her were witnessing and trying to restore the world. She was a little raft in a mighty torrent. On March 16, 1960 (lunar calendar), she became the bride of the man the members knew as their True Father. Hak Ja Han would be the True Mother for all people of all time.
The women of the church in 1960 were busy day and night. They cooked, cleaned, sewed, shopped, and in addition to this full schedule, they also found time to witness. (Witnessing is when you go out and tell people about God, the Divine Principle, and about True Father.) Some of these hard-working women found it hard to accept Father's new wife, Hak Ja Han. They knew she was to be the mother of all people. The True Mother. Their True Mother! Yet, the women in the church were all older than she. They had been born earlier and had joined the church earlier.
Some of these women thought, "She's so young and inexperienced. How can we respect her?" A few even felt that they could have been a better wife than she. They truly loved Father, and they didn't really want to complain, but jealous feelings were strong day and night. They churned around and around inside their hearts, giving them a sick feeling. Sometimes they murmured critical things about the young bride among themselves.
"What are we supposed to call her anyway?" they asked each other. "Should we call her Hak Ja-nim?" (Koreans add "nim" to the end of names when they want to show high respect for a person.)
Some were uncomfortable with this. "It would look strange to people outside the church if we called her Hak Ja-nim," they said. "In their eyes, she's just a child."
"Actually, I think we are supposed to call her Omoni (mother)," said one of the women.
"Maybe even Omonim (honorable mother)," said another.
"Well, she's only been in the church four years, and she hasn't witnessed or gone on a 40-day condition or anything like that," they objected.
"Yes," added another. "And Father looks more like her father than her husband. He's 23 years older than she is."
"True, true," chimed in the others, nodding their heads grimly.
"Well, I have to tell you," announced one woman. "I received in a dream that she is the mother of only the Growth Stage."
Another woman added, "Now that you mention it, I had a dream that she is in the John the Baptist role and that Father's real wife will be announced later."
The women thought about this a moment. "Now that does make sense. A young girl for the Growth Stage and an educated, capable woman for the Perfection Stage."One woman interposed, "Still, her birthday is the same day as his. So maybe she really is the right one for him."
"Well, that's what she and her mother say," answered another. "Maybe they just made it up. Do we have any proof?"
"No, we don't," answered several. "What if it's all a clever trick?"
"I say we watch her and see what she does," said one. "If she fails, he'll have to get rid of her."
"Alright. We'll watch every move she makes."
One of the oldest women had another concern. "What about her mother, Soon-Ae?" she asked. "She's probably gloating now that her daughter is the bride of Father. And she's only been in this church four years herself."
Several nodded in agreement. "I must admit I was thinking the same thing," said one.
Others vented their feelings. "I suppose she'll live like a queen now. Maybe even live in his house."
"Do you think we have to bow down to her, too?"
These ladies were not evil. They were just confused. Some of them thought God had said, "You will be the bride of the Messiah." Maybe these women didn't know that sometimes people receive false revelations. Maybe they didn't know that they must pray about it and be very careful. And maybe they didn't know that God was really telling them they were all brides of the Messiah in a spiritual sense.
As Soon-Ae Hong hurried out of the kitchen and around to the front of the building at the Chung Pa Dong church, she finished drying her hands by waving them in the air.
"I wonder why I have been called by Father," she thought to herself. Now that her daughter was his wife, everything had changed so much.
"I don't know what to do anymore," she murmured to herself. "How should the mother of the Messiah's bride act, anyway?" So far, Father had not asked her to do anything. In fact, it was as if he had forgotten all about her. And to make matters worse, she hardly ever saw her dear daughter anymore.
She reached the top of the stairs and turned to the sliding doors of Father's little room. He waved her in. Her shoes had been left at the door downstairs, so all she had to do was bow and sit on the mat- covered floor before him. Out of respect, her eyes were cast down.
"Your daughter is well," said Father, knowing how much she wanted to hear those words. "Won Bok (Choi) is doing a good job caring for her and raising her up."
She nodded her head, grateful for this bit of information. How she longed to ask questions. How she longed to go help her daughter, but she remained quiet.
He continued, "Now I have some directions to give you. I must ask that, from this time, you stop thinking of her as your daughter. You raised her. You offered her to Heavenly Father. Now she is not really your daughter any longer." He looked at her intently. "Can you accept that?" It would be hard for any mother to accept such a direction, but Mrs. Hong loved him and always obeyed him. Her very name meant "Obedient Love." It had been given to her by a minister.
"Yes, Father," she said softly, without looking up. "I can accept that."
"Good," he said. "Then Won Bok Choi will be her mother from this moment on. Do you understand?"
"Yes," she answered. In her heart, maybe she could not fully understand everything, but she sensed that what he was asking was very important. At that moment, even though she was his mother-in-law, she felt like his child and her heart beat with love for her father. She was about to stand up to leave, when he added another surprising direction.
"Furthermore, from now on, I want you to stay away as much as possible," he said. "If you come to Sunday service or any other activity, you should use the back door and sit in the back. Don't ask to see her-or me. Just go about your work in the kitchen and serve everyone humbly." He paused a moment and then added rather sternly, "And furthermore, you must never, never tell your daughter that she is to be pitied or that you wish she didn't have this position. If you ever speak like that, it will be the greatest crime. You will hurt her terribly-and you will hurt all women."
"Yes, Father," she said. Her voice sounded calm enough, but as she backed out of the room, her head was reeling. Had she done something wrong? Did he hate her? Why was he rejecting her? It was as if a knife was cutting out her heart.
As she went about her duties in the days following, Mrs. Hong felt as though she had no family or friends anymore. She couldn't visit her child. The people in the church seemed to be uncomfortable around her and wouldn't look at her and some of them appeared even to dislike her. Why? What had she done? She was so lonely. Because of these difficulties, she often became sick. The stress affected her stomach, and she was in a lot of pain. For months on end, she could only eat a small bit of rice each day. She grew worn and thin.
The other women soon noticed how difficult her life had become, and before long they took pity on her.
"Look how she's treated," they said. "She's an outcast, a nobody. She has to come and go by the back door. She has no friends. No family. I wouldn't want to be in her situation, poor woman."
Through these difficult years, Soon-Ae Hong focused on her love for Heavenly Father and for True Parents. She thought about how she had been led to the Holy Lord Order and then to Ho Ho Bin's group and then to True Father himself. As far as she knew, she was the only person to have been in all three of these important groups, and she knew God had been guiding her. Therefore, she would be faithful always. She would never give up.
No one could know at that point that it was important for Mrs. Hong to suffer and be rejected yet never complain. No one could explain it to her and make it easier for her to bear. It was a test that most women might have failed. Soon-Ae trudged onward, shielding her faith like a candle in a high wind.
Many years later, Father would praise and honor Soon-Ae for her faith. Many years later, Father would even gently tease her about how strict he had had to be with her in those days. He would give her the heavenly title of "Great Mother." But there was no hint of what was to come in those difficult days back at Chung Pa Dong church.
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