In 2017 myself and others were approached by filmmakers, for a TV show which is now airing.. (aired)
I cooperated for several months, but towards the end I realized the producers wanted us to exploit ourselves for their gain. I didn’t stand to gain anything except telling my story and communicating what happened to me, my family, and my friends.
Fast forward to January an Executive Producer from the production company got on the phone with me (and others who were involved, separately) and basically baited us to go the extra mile and “do something about the group” now.. Asked what action we were willing to take.
I refused to cooperate, and suggested that I only wished to share my story to warn others.. To my mother she suggested getting my son on TV and explaining to him what they went through.. They suggested I confront Tae Yun Kim, the leader, or get creative and show some other effort. To another member they also suggested they confront Kim.
I was happy that no more calls came from the production company.
That all said, what I find interesting is that the reason we were encouraged to spice this up for them, is that the principal of the story, Kim herself was not all that interesting.. She’s a non-factor as they saw it, unless we spiced it up for them.
Over the past 18 years I have been out, I have come to realize a lot about myself, and how the cult affected me.
One of the most pertinent things I have found is that communicating with Ex members has had mixed results. Some do not care to even take your call, avoid you at the store when you run into them. Most of these people are still “in the circle”… They keep the line attached like my mother did the first time she left. There is many of these “halfsies”.
The people I was closest with of my age who left I have had the best times talking with. It is difficult to discuss Kim without getting destructive ourselves though.
Talking to people who were a part of even something similar can be cathartic.
For years I’ve been talking to people who email my address that I started the Bullshido thread with. I’ve got a variety of inquiries, one was very interesting, people whose family member was missing in Oregon, and they were curious if the group had a history of abduction. I of course explained that was not my nor anyone who I had heard from’s expirience.
The point was that there was a place for people to freely speak and ask questions about the group. The more information that’s available about a group, the more transparent we can make the group by sharing our experience the more people can understand what they’re getting into before they commit their life to it.
Quick aside here. I started writing this on February 19th, but I never finished. So I went back and finished it.
Sorry I have kind of taken a break from telling my own linear story of my time in Tae Yun Kim’s COL cult in Fremont. I was busy with work, and just haven’t had time. In addition it does take a lot out of you reliving these traumatic events in your brain. Since it is a long weekend I figure I’ll take the opportunity to get some original writing in.
I was twelve years old when I joined COL in summer 1995. I was unique among the COL kids in that I saw my dad at least every two weeks over the weekend. At this point we all went to public school, so we got out on a daily basis. I also spent a lot of time at my dad’s. I was an only child, and my dad had kind of fallen apart when my mother and him divorced when I was 3. He went through a time when he even lived in a homeless shelter. I was lucky that he never had a drug or drinking issue once he and my mother broke up, but spending the weekend with my dad was always an interesting time.
He didn’t really believe in driving at the time, as he liked the idea of being off the grid. He also lived in the woods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was interesting, we would take the bus from San Jose, and then hike by foot several miles up the hill of wherever he lived at the time. This was nothing new to me, since COL, but it gave me a lot of confidence in traveling on my own. I would leave COL and meet kids from school, as I got a little older. I attribute a lot of this to the reason I desired to leave a lot earlier than some of my counterparts.
Because of all this, I really felt enabled to leave.
A couple of weeks ago I ran into a CURRENT senior member of COL at a car wash in Fremont. It was interesting… I saw her, and addressed her.. initially I wondered if she’d even acknowledge I existed.. but I think in the end she realized what I did, that we were both captive, citing for our vehicles to be cleaned.
We talked her children for a couple of minutes, both who I am close with, but at some point she asked “are you open for discussion?”
“Of course” I replied.. at that point we spent about a half of an hour where she talked about how this blog as well as the bullshido posts have personally affected her. Unfortunately I don’t give that statement a lot of weight.. She blamed her deteriorated relationship on the posts I have made… I was nice enough to not explain that the posts about the truth of my experiences have nothing to do with her relationships. But I digress; She asked me to stop posting about Kim and to not publish my book. She is an old friend, and was much of a motherly part of my childhood.
I have said this before and I’ll say it again, I believe this blog and the bullshido thread have served their purpose. Save some crazy news I will likely be putting this blog to rest for a bit… only to keep good on my word.
Well I hit some mental roadblocks with my writing, so I am not heading towards the fundraiser just yet.
In the meantime I noticed a couple of things. Wikipedia needs some help. Someone needs to put accurate citable info on Tae Yun Kim’s page. I did my best being objective, but the page needs some work.
Lighthouse has now found it’s way in between the Tesla factory, and the new facility Tesla Motors they picked up from Seagate, the former Solyndra facility. This will be a hot bed of recruiting for the group. It will be interesting to see how that plays out… The hot market that Fremont was in the 90’s for up and coming people with money is back…
I would never want to see more people hurt mentally or fiscally like former members have.
It’s actually in over drive. I don’r feel like I have to make an effort for the word to be out there anymore.
I have been working on and off for the last 18 months on a book, recounting my time in the group. I will be opening up a small fundraiser in the near future to help raise funds for a first printing.
I hope you can participate! I am going to offer pre-purchase for a discounted price.
I think I have on this once before in the post PTSD. I believe it important to circle back to this point as it is often missed by members of family of future and current cult members.
I was twelve years old when we were courted by Kim’s group. My father was the only one who spoke up when we presented the idea of moving into the cult. Because it was a decision I was in support of I did cover up to some extent the reality of it to my father. All of this is subconscious and as a cult member you are not aware of the guarding.
My grandparents were brought into the fold by my father, and their apathy ended up being perceived as support by my mother. This put the nail in the proverbial coffin for us moving in.
My point is this, do not sit idly by while your relationship with your family member slips away. Life is only so long, and losing them to a cult is a reality and not overstatement. Any kind of intervention would have prevented this. My dad did his best effort with me and leveraged who he could… Unfortunately those he leveraged didn’t step up in the same way.
Eric, who was a member of COL and Jung SuWon has published his own take on the experience. His life, a little different than mine has left him down a bit of a meandering path, during which he has appeared to look fondly upon negative and positive experiences. His experiences are certainly worth a read.
One of the highlights was an interaction in which he noted an interest from a female member of the group and was subsequently subjected to suspension in the group, which lead to a period of homelessness.
Worth a read, and credit to Eric for opening up about his experiences.
Second: This blog is now two years old.
I wish I had to post more, but I just don’t. My children are older, my time is more valuable spent doing other things, also I travel a lot more for work, which just eats up your time in so many inexplicable ways. This blog is cathartic, but in the end hopefully by book will get it’s act together and everyone can read that.
Ninth: The original thread on Bullshido was started by me in 2005
This was the most important thing I have done to help people survive COL. It opened up a forum for the first time. It took a couple of years to really get going, but I knew it was important the day I posted that thread. I think it has helped many, me included move on and continue the healing process of living in Tae Yun Kim’s dangerous cult.
Tenth: The original post I made on e-budo was ten years ago this summer.
This was mostly unsuccessful; As well I received loose threats which were relayed by my mother from people still on the inside, that they’d come after me… Luckily I found friends later in the free-for-all that is Bullshido.
Eleventh: Eleven years since my mother successfully left COL.
March 27, 2003 was her second attempt… Her first was in late 2002. She was out once and for all once she left this time.
Fifteenth: My anniversary of officially leaving COL passed in February.
It may have been fifteen years, but this is still one of the most memorable experiences, for better or worse, of my life time. A cult will affect you forever and make you who you are. We can’t avoid who we become due to experiences, but we can do our best moving on and forward with our lives.
If I ever knew what I was really getting into before I joined COL, I still may have supported the effort my mom made to join.
Unfortunately it’s important to remember that a cult doesn’t appear to be one, only when exposed to certain aspects without the guise of the principals influence do you see the group for what it is.
Tae Yun Kim fooled me, in Fremont back in 1995. Don’t let her or others like her fool you!