The Words of the Breen Family

Father's Father and the Ladies

Mike Breen
May 23, 2001

Someone said:

I'm in contact with an anti-cultist who informs me that Father's dad was insane and died of syphilis. I don't remember anything about this in your book, although I do seem to remember that insanity (or spirit possession, it was thought) victimized one of the moon sisters? What can you tell us about GYW's dad and his death...

This rings a bell. Someone asked me some months back something along these lines - whether Father's father was a bit of a ladies man. Perhaps it's something doing the rounds, based on something a Moon relative has said.

All I learned from the cousins was that his father was a gentle soul, rather learned for a farmer and one who never raised his voice with his kids.

When the Moons went to their hometown a few years back, they got information about the parents' deaths. I'd have to check, but didn't the father die in the 1950s and the mother around 1967?

I would like to say that I feel in retrospect that this was an area I did not pursue sufficiently when I was researching this period. Famous Koreans have an almost standard whitewashed background that inevitably features a mother whose sacrifice brings them to tears, and a father who was wise but more peripheral because he was off contributing to a noble cause, like the independence movement.

I was not aware of this type of idealizing and so was not alerted by the fact that what is interesting about Father's father is what is NOT said. Yes, he was fond of quoting the sages, and, no, he didn't smoke or drink and yell at his kids like most men of his era, according to the cousins. But that's almost all we know of him. It is interesting that Father has had a lot to say about his mother, but very little about his father. I mean, we're talking about the 20th century's Mary and Joseph and we're told almost nothing.

Please let me know if your anti-cult friend reveals the source of his information. It would be a handy exercise to back-trace it.

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