Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements
M.O. (name withheld by request)
Confined: June 1993
Faith-breaker: Rev. Saito and Kazunobu Toda
I was born in the city of Hamamatsu, in Shizuoka prefecture. I began taking a Japanese literature course at Tokoha Gakuen Junior College in April 1987. After graduating from college in March 1989, I began working at the Suzuki Company. Later, I worked at several other companies as an office worker. I joined the Unification Church in August 1990.
In June 1993, because my parents had been listening to twisted, bad information from the media, they started to worry about me, and they planned my kidnapping through a relative, my grandfather’s younger brother. His daughter had been a former member of the Unification Church for 10 years longer than I had, so he first contacted the opposition group for his daughter’s sake. Then they decided to kidnap me first.
Even now, the words I can't forget are “kidnapping you is practice for kidnapping my daughter.” He wanted to kidnap her and make her leave the church, but because she heard I had been kidnapped, she was careful and wasn't kidnapped. She married a Korean man and has a boy and a girl. They are living happily in Korea now.
I used to go to church while working for my company. One day in June when I came home, my mother said, “Come with me.” I felt something was wrong, and I tried to run away in bare feet, but suddenly my brother and my cousin surrounded me, grabbed my arms and put me into a van. In the van, someone sat on either side of me so that I could not escape.
Even though I asked where we were going, they didn't answer me; I didn't know where we went at first. At church, I used to hear lots of information about kidnapping places because Hamamatsu is an area where confinement often occurs. Soon, I knew I was being confined at the Amihiki Hotel, in Yaizu. During that time, I was working in a sales department doing office work, and I couldn’t contact the company. Eventually, when my unauthorized absence had continued for days, the company fired me.
More than two people were always at the place where I was confined. Notably, someone was always at the exit to prevent escape, and the window couldn’t be used to escape either. When I was kidnapped, other people were also being confined. Some seemed to resist it intensely, strongly kicking the walls or becoming injured from trying to jump out the window. While I was confined, someone did escape through the window.
Reverend Saito of Japan NCC (?) and Mr. Kazunobu Toda, who made his two sisters-in-law leave the church, became involved. After that, I was forced to listen to things I didn’t want to listen to: what is wrong in the Divine Principle, what a true Christian is, and criticism of Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Sometimes ex-members came to say, “I quit having faith in the Unification Church; now I live happily.” I had to listen to their stories with a sister who had been kidnapped around the same time. She had joined the church not so long before; she didn't resist them. I decided to fake renouncing my beliefs and listened obediently. The stories included only bad aspects of the Unification Church, so whoever listens to these stories all the time begins to doubt the Unification Church.
My parents, who listened to such things all the time, naturally came to worry about and doubt the church; my mother especially suffered from depression. I couldn't continue my faith anymore when I saw my mother becoming crazy. Now she is getting better, but when she learned that I had gone to the church again, her situation worsened.
I was confined for about a month. I lost a great number of things. After being confined, I had to live communally for the purpose of rehabilitation at Mr. Toda’s house for about a month. After I was released from confinement, I was asked whether I wanted to be counseled by a lawyer, but I didn’t want it much and it would cost a lot to go to court.
I came back to the church in 2001, eight years later. For that intervening period, I couldn't have faith, and I agonized about marriage and human relationships. Eventually, I was able to return to the Unification Church.
I think what they are doing is childish; it is like an elementary school kids’ quarrel, in which a kid says bad things about another child’s companions in order to yank that child over to the kid’s side as a friend. I think they should witness with their own teachings instead of getting ex-Unification Church members who have trouble finding their direction in life. Actually, some ex-members who left our church after being held in confinement attend the NCC.
Among members who left our church, many are suffering because they can’t marry. Although they quit believing in the Unification Church, they suffer because they can’t find a belief, or the truth, a theory, faith in something other than the Unification Church.
I myself suffered greatly about jobs and marriage until I started having faith in the Unification Church again. I still have an unpleasant feeling in the deepest part of my heart. I still have resentment toward my parents subconsciously: my parents listened to what others said rather than what I said; they never tried to understand my faith, and they forced me to abandon my faith.
Even though I have faith, I often remember past experiences that cause me great stress.
I now have two children, whom my parents love very much, but my parents still have prejudice toward our church.
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