The Words of the Brooks Family

The Axis By Which My Life Revolves - An interview with early Pioneer Galen Brooks

Shelley Watananbe
February 2011

Galen and his family and a crewmate pose with his 32nd Giant Bluefin Tuna. From left to right: Galen holding his youngest son David, Daniel, Sarah, his wife Christine, and fishing mate from San Diego, California. Gloucester, MA 1991.

This testimony is of the early days and of my course to the Blessing and my early experiences with the Ocean Providence in Gloucester. There are other memories of which I look forward to sharing another time.

I hope that this testimony can shed light on what the early days of the church were like and the struggles that we experienced in order to create a foundation for God to work.

Question: When did you join the church?

My name is Galen Lloyd Brooks. I was born February 1, 1944 and joined our movement in Seattle in 1962. My parents were not churchgoers though they were religious. One day a friend of mine invited me to his church when I was eleven. After attending the youth program at that church for seven years my, Sunday School teacher, or spiritual mother, invited me to a Bible study in her home which turned out to be the "Divine Principle." We formed a small group (together with her teenage son, twin daughters and my girlfriend and her twin sister) and studied, witnessed and prepared ourselves for the Blessing.

There were no Principle materials, only notes taken when David Sang Chul Kim (the first missionary to the Northwest) spoke in Oregon. We even didn't know Father's name for many years. We heard he was the "Seung saeng nim from Korea" -- which means teacher, but that was all.

Question: What was your conclusion after hearing the Divine Principle?

I found the Divine Principle very interesting and stimulating because reason, logic and science were the basis of understanding God -- other than just knowing God through blind faith and acceptance.

After going through the entire Divine Principle, we began again. This time, the chapter on The Fall of Man was included, which we did not hear the first time through. I realized this was not simply another Bible study; it was God's Word to us today.

From left to right: Dianne Pitts, Marlyn Brooks, Galen Brooks, Vernon Pearson, Sandra Hilts, David S.C. Kim, and Mrs. Kim holding Fathers Calligraphy "Where East Meets West" at the site of the Golden Spike on the Transcontinental Railroad; Utah 1969.

Question: How did your life change after hearing the Divine Principle?

Externally, my life did not really change. I continued working for the forest service and going to school. I brought my girlfriend into the church and we continued to study and grow together. I knew that my life was not my own anymore, but belonged to God.

Almost my entire life can be broken down into 7-year periods. It took 7 years attending a small Christian church before I was able to be exposed to the Principle. Another 7 with my girlfriend of the time who after 7 years walked away from the church and me and then another 7 years until I received the Blessing in 1975, but sadly that Blessing was not consummated. Then 14 years later, when I was almost 40 years old and 21 years in the church, I was matched by True Father to Christine Reb.

Question: Describe your first experience meeting Rev. Moon.

We wondered about the Messiah coming from Korea. At the time there was a lot of attention centering on that country. Rev. Billy Graham had been there and reported that the Korean Christians were the most devoted in the world. As I said before, we did not really know much about the founder of the Divine Principle, just what little we heard from David Kim.

In 1965 True Father came to the Northwest to bless Holy Grounds as part of a whirlwind tour to every state in the U.S. He came to Seattle and Portland, and I was acting as a guide.

On the day True Father and his party arrived, I was leading an entourage of four cars to the Holy Ground. I stopped my Volkswagen at a light but the woman driving Father's car did not stop and crashed into my car. I can still remember that moment to this day -- Mrs. Won Bok Choi, Father's translator, came out to inspect the damage and said that great blessings will come to me as a result of this incident.

I felt so apologetic and responsible about this accident, even though it was not my fault. I realized that the attitude of how we receive things good and bad means everything. I knew then that Father was the Messiah because of my spontaneous attitude of apologizing for getting in the way of his car. I realized then that I had completely accepted him as the Messiah or I would not have acted that way.

Question: What was it like to be a member in the early days?

We had no centers back then; we lived in our own homes and met regularly to study the Principle. It wasn't until 1972 that the centers developed. We had a center in Portland, Oregon for the Northwest in the mid-sixties but we did not live there. We would gather together every couple of months and fellowship together and visit churches. We also visited spiritual groups who testified to us from the spiritual world but did not listen to their own testimonies. After a while we kind of gave up on them.

In the early days there were three missionary groups in America. David Sang Chul Kim was the leader in the Northwest, Young Oon Kim had moved to California after beginning the work in Oregon, and Colonel Pak was stationed in Washington, D.C. Later Colonel Pak was called back to Korea. (He was a military attaché in the Korean embassy at the time.) Young Oon Kim moved to D.C. and the East Coast while keeping her base in California. Later came Onni Soo Lim Durst and the Oakland Family. Father sent Papa-san Choi to America. He was formally known as Mr. Nishikawa, the first missionary to Japan. He settled in the San Francisco area.

Question: How is the church different now from when you joined?

We were focused at that time on the thought of perfecting ourselves to fulfill God's ideal on the individual level. The church today is more focused on the direction to fulfill God's Providence.

Question: What is your least favorite memory?

Later in 1968 my best memory was receiving the Holy Gown from Korea, which was handmade especially for me.

It is very difficult to put this into words. But it has to do with my having walked the path of indemnity and surviving. It was like another connecting link to Heaven. I felt that the Holy Gown came to me from Heaven.

Question: What was your experience with Ocean Challenge?

I can say that being in Ocean Church was the greatest thing in my life after having and raising children with my wife. In 1982 was on the security staff in Belvedere and Father invited us to go tuna fishing. At the time he was making conditions; we worked so hard going out very early to fish long before sunrise.

On one particular trip I was on a crew of the Sea Hope with Mr. Matsuzaki. Because of the importance of this mission to catch fish as a condition for the Providence of America, Mr. Matsuzaki was praying fervently on the bow of the boat. Father had told us that the tuna shed blood so that mankind doesn't have to and that catching fish is like catching leaders.

We had to stay out until we caught a tuna. Some days this would mean 10 or more hours. On this day, we had lost a fish and two of the crew members began to blame each other. A huge black cloud gathered in the sky. There was so much tension among us. After a while the two men calmed down and discussed their differences and shook hands. At that exact instant a tuna came, and we pulled it in.

It was then that I realized that we are not just fishing but much more. It was through many similar experiences at sea that we learned the reality of the Divine Principle and the importance of unity to bring victory for God. The Ocean Challenge experience was perfect for this kind of education because we were in small groups out on the ocean and our survival and success depended totally on our teamwork and selflessness.

It was on the ocean that I experienced God for many years. After Ocean Church ended in the 90's, I ran my own commercial fishing boat for a total of 10 years.

Question: What do you hope young people can gain from your experience?

It would be good that young people understand how important the things we say or don't say or do or don't do make the condition that forms our life.

Question: Are there any last words you would like to add?

What I am most grateful for in my life is that True Parents matched me with Christine Reb from France. She is everything that I am not, and our four children Daniel, Sarah, David, and Miriam inherited from her the things I did not have in me to give them. Feeling my children grow and mature with the elements of both of our characters, personalities, and natures has completely solidified my eternal love for my wife and True Parents.

I worship the Lord God Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth and all that abides therein. God is the primary mover and shaker -- what God wills will be done, what He does not want will not be, if we make the conditions that allow God to work. My faith and belief is in God and the Principle: the Principles of Creation, the Principles of Indemnity, the Principles of Restoration and the Principles of Recreation. These are based on the same principles but there are definite nuances between them.

These principles, along with my Father's attitude that all things and people that exist have an inherent right to exist, which must be considered before our own. I state these things because they are the axis by which my life revolves. 

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