This Heading will mainly focus on my understanding of certain spiritual concepts. To some extent, what I have written in the Home Page encapsulates most of what I want to say. Here, I’ll be writing various thoughts on the time we are living in and its importance in providential history. It will also include content I originally had up on the Home Page as well as articles that expand on some of the points raised in the Home Page, such as the nature of ‘parentalism’. Inevitably, there will be some repetition but I would caution against speed-reading through it as I may be putting a different slant on a point. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep revisiting this website, every now and again, as I am sure it will be constantly changing i.e. getting bigger, I’m afraid!
I should forewarn there is a lot to read here but I hope something stirs you in some way as you go through the articles.
The content includes the following titles (some which have been put up and some as works in progress which haven’t been posted yet):
· Are the criticisms against Father Moon justified?
· Have we all just missed the Second Coming of Christ?
· Are we a spiritual movement or a religious church?
· Father Moon passed away into the spirit world, aged 92 – the mantle of Messiahship now falls on each one of us!
· A blueprint for lasting world peace?
· Are we just a ‘dangerous cult’?
· What now for the ‘Moonies’ after the death of its founder?
· On the criticism that we are anti-Jewish
· On the criticism that we are anti-gay
· On the criticism that we are anti-Christian
· MaPa Love and Parentalism
· In praise of ‘Parentalism’
· The Importance of Korea in God’s Providential History
· The Role of Religion
Are the criticisms against Father Moon justified?
No, they are not, although I recognise that we are all human and fallible, including Father Moon, and mistakes have been made which, with the benefit of hindsight, could have been avoided. However, I would suggest that most mistakes were made by followers, especially those in high positions of authority, than by the man himself. When things go wrong, then the founder tends to get criticised.
A common criticism is that the UM accumulated vast wealth, through its fundraising and various business ventures, which went straight to the founder while his followers lived in various stages of hardship and enforced penury.
· Such wealth has been exaggerated with as many failed businesses as successful ones.
· We were all well looked after, albeit living frugally because we wished to concentrate more on our spiritual growth than material possessions. Therefore, how we lived was more out of choice than having it imposed on us.
· Father Moon himself lived very modestly, with all income placed under charitable trust on behalf of the UM. He liked nothing better than to watch football and go deep-sea fishing in his spare time. Any large house he lived in was not so much for his benefit but more to protect him from the numerous death threats he was receiving, with high walls and 24 hour security required. Such houses accommodated not just his own large family, a total of 14 children, but many other followers and their families.
· Under the 80/20 rule, I would suggest that 80% of our income was spent on our outreach programme of altruistic causes, relief charities, conferences, events and faith-based organisations, while 20% went on covering our own overheads and living expenses.
· On the other hand, I recognise a lot of money was wasted on some dubious ventures, such as newspaper acquisitions, but these were more down to others’ mismanagement than to Father Moon himself. I guess our hearts were in the right place, even if we were perhaps naïve in what we could achieve. Some might say we over-reached ourselves in trying to do too much in the short period of time that we had while Father Moon was alive.
I have to say the high-end conferences were very expensive to run. Usually, these were in five star Marriott-type hotels with large conference centres. Current and former heads of state, prime ministers and leading figures in arts, culture, media, business etc. were also invited. That all came at a price when you need to block-book the hotel (or at least 3-4 floors of it) in order to accommodate these dignitaries. We paid for their first class/business travel, high-end food and accommodation, as well as various sight-seeing events over those 3-4 days. Usually there was a request for payment as a form of appearance fee. Those ‘appearance fees’ could be anywhere from £100K up to £1m, depending on the status of the president or head of state.
· Some waived their appearance fee because they were willing to come without payment and had bought into the aims of our charity and outreach efforts. They even travelled economy and stayed in more modest hotels in order to reduce our overhead costs, with some even paying their own expenses. I found it quite indicative that these were the ones who more likely turned up at Father Moon’s funeral (Ascension Ceremony) in Korea back in 2012, while others were conspicuous by their absence.
· Of those who expected the going rate for appearance fees and the best of travel and accommodation, I remember a lot of that sat uncomfortably with me at the time. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh here but it has been common practice for former heads of state to freeload on a gravy train of the so-called ‘lecture circuit’, turn up and say a few pleasantries and enrich themselves well in the process. I don’t remember any in that bracket who turned up for his funeral, but I may be wrong.
· I remember Sir Edward (Ted) Heath, former UK Prime Minister, being criticised for attending a couple of our events but he gave a fairly robust response along the lines of agreeing with our world vision programme of peace. We also had George Senior (and Barbara) Bush attend and Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa – again, all subscribing to our view of the family as the bedrock of a harmonious society.
· Many of these events are now being held under an inter-denominational organisation we set up called the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and its strap line is ‘Global Network of Peace-builders’ with supporters from a wide range of people. Their website is http://www.upf.org/
Another common criticism is that some activities and organisations that Father Moon set up seemed more politically-driven than faith-based. This is something that most Western people could not comprehend as to why he was adopting such a strong anti-communist stance. However, this should be considered in the context of his own direct experience of living under the horrors of ‘Godless Communism’ in North Korea in the early 1950s, when he suffered its extremes of torture and hard-labour prison camps. However, more important to him than his own personal experience, was the suppression of religious freedom, as well as many other rights and freedoms that we are used to here in the West.
This should also be understood in the context of the Cold War era from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. He perceived an unholy alliance of militant atheism and socialism as a ‘soft underbelly’ of Communism and its politicians as pursuing an agenda that could very easily, in time, have pushed Western societies towards similar scenarios as existed under Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China. I appreciate such a scenario might be a bit extreme and very unlikely to happen, given our rich heritage of civil liberties. Nevertheless, we should not be dismissive at how fragile a society can be when any form of totalitarianism takes grip of a nation’s politics. It was argued by right-wing politicians and organisations he sometimes supported that so-called ‘soft communism’ can very easily degenerate into an out of control beast once markets and economic growth crumble and notions of liberal democracy and civil liberties go out the window. Mind you, a similar charge could be levelled at those who espouse Hard Right policies and initiatives. Taking the Centre ground is never an easy thing to do, especially when a country faces a crisis or hardship.
He was desperate for the West to not go down that road, having seen at first-hand what it can do to the human spirit when belief in God is so strongly denied to its people. People become not just cut off from God but disposable and dispensable to their fellow man, as evidenced with the countless millions of lives lost in the last century under communism, especially under Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung etc. I’m afraid, with 75 years now passing since the end of World War 2, the West has been softened up in a gooey mix of apathy and materialism that it hasn’t a clue how destructive some ideologies can be to the human spirit.
Much of this is past history even if this tension still exists in other parts of the world where liberal democracy and civil liberties are currently being suppressed or under threat. Some of what the UM did was, in hindsight perhaps, unnecessarily alarmist and again, was often more down to individual followers taking such action than Father Moon himself. Also, just because politicians profess a belief in God does not make them a good person to support and I have not been alone in expressing concern at the strange bedfellows the UM sometimes aligned itself with, in its determination to defeat the Godless ideology of communism. Again, I believe that was in the past and less prevalent now as the UM concentrates more on spreading its spiritual teachings.
Father Moon’s family have also come in for some criticism. I believe it’s not been much different to any large family where you are bound to have some dysfunctions, with one or two perhaps going off the rails. It’s all the more remarkable that most have managed to keep it together what with all the pressures they lived under. Their parents were off a lot of the time travelling to conferences or to faith communities around the world and their upbringing was highly challenging for any child to grow up in. Also, living under the shadow of such a controversial figure as their father was never going to be easy, even at the best of times. Many attended state schools and got unfairly bullied by others. Now that he has passed away, we should all make up for the hostility shown to their father by seeking to reunite his family and work collectively with them in sharing his legacy.
One of the most high-profile actions, and criticisms, were the so-called ‘Moonie Mass Weddings’. I will write more on this in a separate article because it does need more extensive writing on it. For now, I’ll say that most of these marriages remain successful and have far higher rates of success than non-UM marriages among the general public.
As with any large organisation with an over-abundance of smaller operations it had to run, mistakes and errors of judgement did happen. Father Moon left most of these in the hands of others, and yet some of their questionable leadership and stewardship at the time did fall back on him in pointing the finger of blame. A case in point was him having to serve 13 months of an 18 month sentence in a US prison (Danbury, Connecticut) for tax evasion in 1985. This relates to relatively small amounts of undeclared income when the UM was just starting out in the early 1970s in the US. It goes without saying that probably most of us would get a reprimand or fine for such but not so for someone whose controversial image provided an opportunity for especially harsh treatment. It still remains a gross miscarriage of justice and I respectfully refer you to what has been written about this case in Wikipedia:
Have we all just missed the Second Coming of Christ?
Yes, I believe we have although there is still time for us to honour True Parents while Mother Moon is still alive (and coming to the UK in July 2020). This is because the Messiah are two people – Father and Mother Moon collectively as one.
Though he has now passed away, at the age of 92 back in September 2012, I believe posterity will come to recognise Father Moon’s great legacy and importance to God’s providential world history. Whether that happens in 10, 20 or 100 years from now, it will happen.
He has successfully carried on the mantle of messiahship that Jesus bestowed on him back in 1936, on Easter Sunday, when just 16. From very humble beginnings, and after going through torture, imprisonment and near death experiences in his early ministry, he built his movement up to achieve great things. Mother Moon is now carrying on that legacy and I believe importantly expressing the Motherhood of God.
Women are the backbone of any family setting and indeed any society. The ‘Age of Woman’ is now upon us to make up for the neglect that patriarchal societies have given towards women over many centuries. More and more women are rightly taking key leadership roles around the world, and bringing with them a far greater urgency for peace and reconciliation. As the first begotten daughter of God, Mother Moon is spiritually spearheading those changes. I don’t expect it to happen overnight – there’s just too much entrenched resistence to change from those with vested interests to keep things the way they are, and have always been. As defeatist as it sounds, I think it’s more likely going to take a number of generations for things to work themselves through. I guess our Heavenly Parent has waited around long enough for these positive changes to happen that He/She can wait a bit longer. A shame because much unnecessary suffering will ensue in the meantime.
If one were to study the Parallels of History, contained in the UM’s ‘Divine Principle’ texts, then there is a direct correlation in biblical events occurring from the 2000 years leading up to Jesus’ time and the 2000 years since then – all now pointing to the return or Second Coming of Christ.
Whether I say that SMM is the Messiah, or that ‘Joe Bloggs’ from next door is, well that’s something for posterity to judge. How I view his spiritual status is a deeply personal one to me, just as it was to the old beggar woman who recognised Jesus’ messianic status, when even his close disciples were doubting him. It’s certainly not the be-all and end-all of what I am trying to get across here. You can draw your own conclusions after attending various UM-related workshops on the ‘Divine Principle’.
Imagine that we were both on a street in Jerusalem 2000 years ago – would you or I give the time of day to a man walking towards us, leading a small rag-bag of followers, if I pointed him out to you and said this man, who is merely a son of a carpenter from a backwater small town of Nazareth, calls himself the ‘Son of God’ and that we should follow him? Unless we were fortunate enough to be so spiritually sensitive or touched in some way by the power of the Holy Spirit, then how likely are we to respond positively to his message and teachings, controversial and even blasphemous as they must have come across to the mainstream Jewish followers at the time (especially the Pharisees and Sadducees)?
The fact is that Jesus did not walk around with a halo around his head, as depicted in Renaissance art, nor would he have had a band of angels or cherubs hovering over his head singing celestial choruses. He may have given off a certain aura that drew people to him but most did not have the spiritual eyesight to see that. In fact, I don’t even think that happened either – if it did, then his closest disciples and apostles wouldn’t have given him such a hard time of believing in him right up to and immediately after his death, as depicted in the New Testament writings. Principally, we would have been drawn to Jesus because he was a man without contradiction, like Father Moon.
Sorry, but I cannot but make these bold statements after close to 44 years of connection to him. To most readers here, this is not news anyway since most newspaper articles preface Moon’s name with the words ‘self-styled messiah’ – I just happen to believe it’s true. However, the word ‘messiah’ or ‘anointed one’ could equally apply to each one of us in any event, because we all have the spiritual capacity to take these teachings to an even higher level, and Father Moon would be the first to congratulate us. That is why this concept of ‘messiah’ needs to be reviewed in time – in a sense he is, like Jesus, a ‘first among equals’.
He had flaws just like the rest of us, including Jesus, because that is what humanity and human frailty is all about. The paths they both took eventually led them to a life without contradiction between the mind, the body and the soul. I guess that is the closest you can get to perfection but it still doesn't mean you become 'perfect', which is a fairly meaningless concept. None of this should be any different for each one of us to go through because we all long for a life without contradiction. However, frankly, I do wonder at how low some people can go in all these three areas of the mind, body and soul when looking at how they sometimes behave. Nevertheless, spiritual growth is possible for everyone before we shed off this ‘mortal coil’ of physical life.
Anyway, what you do is entirely your call to make as to how you respond – if I believe such a thing, even when most of the world might strongly contradict my view, then so be it. I know I am repeating myself here but what I would ask is that you take yourself away from normal distractions around you and try and communicate with that inner voice inside you for divine guidance, in order to decide whether this is all heretical hocus pocus you are now reading or some great chink of light that you can reach out to and give you great hope in this very troubled and ever-darkening world.
(I believe Father Moon has been so misunderstood and unfairly maligned. I acknowledge an uphill battle in trying to, in a sense, sell the apparently ‘unsellable’. Many people have an almost visceral and vitriolic hatred of the man and what he stands for and I appreciate that it will now require a tremendous leap of faith for you, the reader, to not switch off on first seeing what this website is about.
I will also acknowledge that, with the death of its founder, almost inevitably there have been some very unnecessary conflicts and divisions from within the movement, not least from within his own family. This is a great shame and we must all hope and pray that matters will resolve themselves as soon as possible. Human frailty and weakness is a curse we all have to overcome.
Some of his children did suffer from living under his giant shadow and all the challenges they had in trying to live normal lives. I guess these things also inevitably happen in the immediate aftermath of any great man or woman’s passing – the sooner we rally around all of his family, to protect and support them, then the better for all our outcomes.)
However, I don’t wish to skirt over yet another major criticism when trawling through the various anti-Moon websites, and that is of the character of the man himself. Let me put it this way: if either Jesus or Father Moon called at my home, I would have no problem to sit down with either over a cup of coffee and discuss events of the day, ranging from the mundane to the highly spiritual. What I am getting at here is the need for a demystification of those we choose to put on a pedestal. Our levels of spirituality should now be at a level where we should feel to be on a par and on an equal standing with both the highest and lowest of society.
The problem for Christians, as with other world religions, is that we have placed its founders in such an impossibly unrealistic exalted position that there is a disconnection between our beliefs and what should be our responsibilities as children of God. We are all potentially Sons and Daughters of God, just as with Jesus and Father Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han. In that respect, they are ‘First among Equals’ but still prone to human weaknesses and frailties.
Since Father Moon’s passing, I’m afraid the inevitable has happened, and the UM is going through a bit of a turmoil with divided opinions as to his legacy. In the fullness of time, these things will find a way of resolving themselves. At heart, it is the essence of his teachings I am trying to promote rather than the man. In the fullness of time, I am confident that posterity will look more favourably on his achievements.
In time, the truth will come out about how grossly maligned and misrepresented this man had become. What it has, unfortunately, done is to deter and deny many people from looking seriously at his teachings and developing a much closer relationship with God. With the world the way it is crying out for new hope and direction, surely now is the time for us all to re-evaluate whatever scepticism and hostility we may have harboured towards this very important man in history. Our future descendents depend on us all to get this right, turn on our inquiring, and not cynical, minds and seriously consider if there is any truth in what I am writing. Let’s avoid the temptation to sleep-walk through life and blindly accept perceived wisdoms as handed down to us from the media, as well as nowadays from social media. For what it’s worth, I have absolutely no doubt that God is working through the followers of Father Moon in spreading the teachings and messages contained within the Divine Principle.
Are we a spiritual movement or a religious church?
A quick answer to this is both, even though I have a personal preference for the former rather than the latter.
Readers will have noticed that I am referring to the Unification Movement (UM) rather than the Unification Church, and for good reason. The word ‘church’ is far too restrictive in its scope and outreach, and I blame the media for keeping that moniker current when we no longer use it in our outreach efforts. Our official spiritual movement title is ‘Family Federation for World Peace and Unification’ (FFWPU) but I find that a bit of a mouthful, which is why many of us prefer the UM title.
Basically, the Unification Movement is the spiritual wing of True Parents’ teaching and acts as an umbrella body for a number of organisations which are interfaith and inter-denominational. As such, it will have a very large number of supporters that could number in the millions. I have no idea of the actual numbers but I estimate that core followers of Father and Mother Moon will number in the low hundreds of thousands worldwide. These will be FFWPU members or Family Federation for short, which is what I expect it to be shortened to over time.
Here, there are specific religious observances to be followed such as attending Sunday Services, making a minimum of 10% tithing of your income, witnessing to others of your faith, daily early morning reading of True Parents’ speeches etc. As with any faith group, in terms of strict religious observances there will a range of follower from the fundamentalist to the more casual, from the core to the peripheral. In my earlier years, I was very much the former type but in more recent years I have become the latter type of follower.
I make a distinction between supporters and followers of course. For example, I could support a particular political party when voting every 5 years but become a follower if I paid in an annual subscription to be a member of that party and then went out actively knocking on doors and encouraging others to support that party. In setting up this witnessing website, I am clearly a follower of Father and Mother Moon but I’m not a strong follower of the organisation built around them i.e. FFWPU. It goes without saying, therefore, that you don’t have to be a follower of True Parents to be a part of the UM but you do if you wish to align yourself to FFWPU.
From Jan 2017 to June 2018, I was a Trustee of FFWPU’s Board of Trustees here in the UK. From June 2018 I transferred to its Finance Committee as I felt my property, legal and financial knowledge would be better placed. In time, I’ll write more about these experiences. For now, I’ll just say that folks who volunteer to run FFWPU operations do so in a well-meaning way, but quite a bit still tends to be quite amateurish. In time, I and others are hoping to get it more professionally run even if sometimes it can feel like there is resistance to change.
(Don’t get me wrong, FFWPU is a legitimate charity here in the UK and follows all legal requirements both in spirit and in substance. It’s just that it could do more with its financial and human resources to make a greater impact in society. I and others are trying to make those necessary reforms which over time will bear fruit. However, we need more experienced and pragmatic people on board to help in its outreach impact and organisational efficiency.)
I guess I’m saying there are two strands to our movement, one spiritual that seeks commonality with others and the other that is religious and seeks close adherence to certain rules and codes of behaviour. I have high regard for those who follow a prayerful and religious lifestyle, in the same way that, as a Catholic, I would show respect to priests and nuns giving themselves to a lifetime of service and devotion. Many Unificationists are strongly engaged in seeking a vertical communion with God and through constant prayer for Father and Mother Moon. This provides important spiritual protection to our founders and for the success of their Message.
That’s not to deny they would also be committed to a loving horizontal connection with their fellow humans and the created world around them. It is really about finding the right balance between both our vertical and our horizontal obligations.
Some might say I am unnecessarily splitting hairs here since others tend to see the UM and FFWPU as one and the same. With emphasis on the word ‘movement’ I see the UM in a wider context and seeking to embrace like-minded people from all forms of beliefs and non-beliefs towards this horizontal connection with one another, and in efforts to secure lasting world peace.
My family and I have no problem attending the occasional FFWPU Sunday service, which are very Christian in presentation, complete with hymns and formal sermons from the local pastor. In many respects, it is not much different to attending Catholic Mass, although the more enlightened theology at an FFWPU service does put a bigger ‘spring in the step’ afterwards, so to speak.
However, we are far more than just another Christian sect and our teachings can easily be embraced by all world mainstream faiths, which is why those from a non-Christian background actually tend to be more receptive to our message than those steeped in Christian tradition and thinking. When Jesus came among his fellow Jews, he would have hoped they would be the first to receive and understand his messianic mission. However, the Jewish high priests and scholars, steeped as they were in Old Testament thinking and traditions, labelled him a blasphemer and a heretic and put him to death.
History, unfortunately, has repeated itself with a similar rejection of True Parents by the Christian hierarchy steeped in the traditions and thinking of the New Testament. The Returning Messiah has not come from the ‘clouds’ in splendour and glory but instead from the backwater country of Korea. Father Moon’s first mission back in the 1940s was to reach out to the local Christian leaders but he was rejected. Instead, those from a Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and shaman belief tended to see more his worth and value.
However, we are even more than just another faith group, which is why I am emphasing the spiritual dimension to our teachings, rather than the perhaps more limiting religious one. Some fellow-Unificationists may disagree with the stance I am taking, in emphasing these spiritual benefits over religious ones, but the purpose of my website is mainly to reach out to those who are anti-religious but who might recognise that we are spiritual beings with a wish for something more out of life than just the mundane of life being no more than that which we see and touch.
(Please be sure of one thing - there is a spirit world after we pass on from here. It does not just end when we die, although it does for our physical bodies. Our ancestors and loved ones are waiting to meet with us and it is the quality of our spirit bodies that we take with us. However, spiritual growth in the next life is far more challenging and demanding than the spiritual growth we can obtain here on earth, so we should consider this while we are still alive. Even the worst of people are capable of eventual redemption in the spirit world, although their progress will not be easy as they come to terms with the gravity of their deeds on earth. As with any parent, God will eventually claim all of us in the next life. That is why it is the quality of this life we live now that is precious in developing our spirit body because that is what we take with us when we die.)
Basically, what I am saying is that Unification teaching can be embraced by everyone of faith or of no faith, as long as you accept the principle that we are not just physical beings but also spiritual beings, and that God is our heavenly parent with both male and female characteristics. We are not trying to get people to abandon or leave their faith or humanist beliefs, rather we wish to enhance their existing beliefs, as many have testified to have happened once they attended our lectures/workshops. As a spiritual movement, rather than as a religious church, our aim is not to convert people to become committed followers but to proclaim to all far and wide both the deeply loving and yet deeply suffering heart of God.
(That is why you do not need to be religious to get into all of this – spiritually-attuned yes, but not religious. In time, the need for formalised religion will come to an end once we have achieved oneness with God. Religion will eventually be replaced with a spiritual movement that will still allow for the great buzz of collective celebration and fellowship but not be hampered by any hierarchical observance and compliance, which can so often stunt spiritual growth, even if unintended. Religious belief is a means to an end – once we have achieved that end, perhaps by the next (or 22nd) Century, then we will instinctively know the right way of living with each other.)
Notwithstanding the seeming contradiction of extolling the virtues of spirituality over religion, it is the former which can more readily appeal to those who might dismiss the latter as mere superstition. Just as we have physical senses of sight, touch, smell etc. so also do we have spiritual senses that inhabit our conscience and/or soul, chief of which is our capacity both to give and to receive love.
It is these spiritual senses which have inspired both religious believers and humanists to achieve great humanitarian actions for the benefit of others. Understanding where these higher order attributes and skills come from is what I hope to get across here – we are not just random atoms and particles, destined to live an unknown quantity of years and then that’s it. There is a clear purpose to our life, which I hope to show through introducing the concept of ‘Parentalism’, a potential ideology to end all other ideologies and which can be understood and embraced by people from all walks and levels of life.
The present problem with religion is that it is often viewed as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end. Invigorating as it can be for like-minded people to gather together in collective celebration of having a common religious belief, but if that is its only end purpose then too easily it can diminish in its spiritual returns. Worse still is when hierarchical structures and dogmatism take control and then you have divided beliefs and communities, and the kind of turmoil that has afflicted most of human history, not least than at present. You will gather from this that while I have the utmost respect for religious belief, it is to spiritual belief that I am trying to promote here. Religious belief can, unfortunately, be very divisive because of the vast range of options available, but I believe spiritual beliefs can transcend all of this, through the concept of 'parentalism’.
Father Moon passed away into the spirit world, aged 92 – the mantle of Messiahship now falls on each one of us!
On the 15th of September 2012, Father Moon’s body was finally laid to rest in his native Korean homeland, a country which has been split in two between North and South and between two vast extremes of wealth (SK) and poverty (NK). He passed away peacefully after a bout of pneumonia into the spirit world, aged 92, nearly two weeks earlier on the 3rd of September 2012. Both his death and his funeral became world-wide news stories no matter which country you lived in, with many of them being indistinguishable in their content, almost as a copy and paste exercise from one newspaper to another.
At least the news coverage, even if it was ‘copy-cat’ reporting, of Father Moon’s passing was fairly factually correct and objective and not the kind of sensationalist headlines borne out from the lazy journalism of the 1970s and 1980s. The readers’ comments sections in these newspapers’ online website brought out the usual derisory comments like ‘good riddance’, and ‘I’ll be dancing on his grave’ which, I suppose, is unfortunately to be expected given how Father Moon has been unfairly presented as a megalomaniacal charlatan (the only noteworthy piece of humour was when someone took the line from the film ‘Life of Brian’ by writing ‘He is not the Messiah … he’s a very naughty boy’!).
(His funeral today also coincided with two other major news stories which may have serious repercussions on world peace, which Father Moon has spent his whole life trying to achieve, namely, the unrest in the Middle East over the low-budget anti-Islam film and the growing tensions between China and Japan over a few uninhabited islands between the two countries. Both seem fairly ‘much ado about nothing’ issues but highlight how fragile our world is that such differences and over-reactions could blow up to this scale of unrest).
Be that as it may, most of the world will have now forgotten about this news event little recognising that a man has just died whose significance to world providential history may well be as important as Jesus’ was 2000 years ago. In fact, I do not distinguish between human history and God’s providential history – both are inextricably linked.
All the great religious leaders of the past, not just Christian but from other world faiths, have had to endure a period of immense persecution borne out of a misunderstanding by those who were too spiritually poor not to recognise their worth. It is no different now to how spiritually blind some of those in positions of power (be they political, religious or media leaders) have been towards Father Moon where he has been vilified, hated and distrusted in equal measure by many of those he most wished to influence.
Why the need to influence such leaders? Most of us are so caught up in the daily pressures of life that we inevitably take our cue from those who have put themselves forward as our moral, political and social guardians, none more so than our faith leaders. After all, if the Pope decreed (thankfully he hasn’t) that Father Moon was some sort of anti-Christ then who among our secular leadership is going to contradict that? However, Father Moon’s teachings are not confined to the religious experience alone – they inform and guide on so much more including our economic, social and personal lives. There should be no contradiction between how we think and how we go about our daily lives and Father Moon provides us with a simple but powerful teaching, called the ‘Divine Principle’, to reconnect us with our original selves.
His writings, sermons and speeches have been attributed as the largest ever produced by one person (Guinness Book of Records) but the core message is a simple one along the lines of:
We are all the spiritual sons and daughters of God and as spiritual brothers and sisters to each other then it behoves us to work together to secure a final and lasting world order of peace, love and fellowship.
Most world religions have a similar sentiment except that many of us don’t take it that seriously when we feel so wronged by others around us or we witness daily news stories of people’s inhumanity to each other or to nature. This is a direct result of us being, effectively, spiritual orphans because of our disconnect with the Source of our life. That source is commonly referred to as God, Yahweh, Allah, Supreme Being or other such title. I have come up with an alternative word – MaPa, where Ma is for mother and Pa is for father. It is a word that can be spoken in any language and helps get us away from the secular, non-religious person’s aversion to the word ‘God’ and all the negative connotations they have of the religious experience.
In time, religion itself will be a thing of the past and we will all instead connect with God in a more natural way, both through our families and in seeing the Face of God in others around us. The last thing God wants is for us to be divided up into all these different faiths and then only meeting with him for maybe only one hour every Sunday – what parent would wish for their children to behave in this way, so is it any different with God?
No one can deny the impact of their parents’ role in their upbringing and in how it has shaped them, whether for good or for bad. If we therefore refer to God’s parental spiritual love as ‘MaPa Love’ then we can develop a connection between how we would wish God to behave towards us and how we would wish our parents to behave towards us.
This is not a one-way compact though and we cannot just wait for God to love us first before loving Him/Her back. It is the quality of our reciprocation that lies at the heart of how we move forward on this and each of us will respond differently to loving God back, just as parents will be loved differently by their children. That is the beauty of how love manifests itself and why God is so intoxicated with developing a unique loving relationship with each of us, knowing that each of us will respond differently according to our spiritual growth. After all, isn’t that what parents often say to each other about each of their children – some are easier to parent while others are more challenging, but none are treated any differently. That’s the power of unconditional parental love and is no different to God’s level of love to us, His Children!
A true or good parent will not judge each child differently but wait patiently for each to gain their own particular understanding – that is what parents enjoy most in seeing their children responding in different ways. Our spiritual growth will continue into the next world after we die but that growth can take a lot longer than if we were to quickly grow spiritually here and now while we are still breathing.
At the heart of True Parents’s teaching is that we are, in the biblical sense, ‘made in the image of God’ and that God is our parent, in both male and female form, no different to the living example we have of our own parents’ love for us. Some of us were lucky enough to experience the unconditional love of parents who self-sacrificed themselves in so many ways to ensure we were loved, protected and guided even into our adulthood.
Growing up in such a loving environment, we looked on them effectively as the ‘Face of God’. Empirical evidence would suggest, though of course not conclusively, that the products of such a loving family structure would themselves behave similarly as unconditionally loving parents to their own children. In the wider context they would often be seen as well-adjusted, positive members of society who are characterised more as ‘givers’ rather than as ‘takers’.
However, many, if not most, of us were not so lucky in our family upbringing. Varying between mildly dysfunctional to downright abusive, we may carry many of these repercussions into our adulthood and in our relations with our spouse and children or with others around us. Some of us may resolve not to commit to a long-term relationship, much less become a parent, because of these inherited insecurities from a sense that we did not have the kind of family upbringing that we would have wished for.
Is it any wonder then that, over the years, many of us have developed a thick skin of resistance to any kind of concept of an unconditionally loving and forgiving God? Father Moon has constantly spoken of the suffering heart of God, so long disconnected from his children, and of His/Her longing to embrace us as true sons and daughters again.
For now, all I can say is that for those who have suffered both from difficult upbringings, heartbreaks, poverty, war and the many different kinds of troubling situations we find ourselves in – God will be all the more compassionate towards you because these things can all affect your spiritual growth. After your physical body has gone, it is your spiritual body that matters more to God and therefore whatever efforts you can make to develop and grow your spiritual senses of love, compassion and kindness towards others will be greatly rewarded in the next life.
The essence of Unification theology is that each of us is an individual truth body of God with no one person being any greater or lesser than the other. Each of us is a unique expression of a divine, parental force that represents much more than that depicted by Michelangelo in his Sistine Chapel painting of an old man with white hair and beard (aesthetically beautiful as such paintings are).
Each of us has a potential and capacity for God to walk the earth through us and uniquely express a wonderful, parental love towards not just our own offspring but to all others as well. Now that Father Moon has passed away, there will be many who think that his followers will now all come back to their senses and that his teachings will just fizzle out. Such people, of course, miss the point of what True Parents are trying to achieve.
A blueprint for lasting world peace?
At time of writing, our world is slowly imploding in on itself. In areas of conflict involving Russia, China and the Middle East and the West’s divided response to them, we may see any or all of these conflicts quickly escalate into a World War III scenario unless all parties draw back and take seriously the processes for conflict resolution*. In the meantime, it would seem that everywhere and everything around us now seems engulfed in variations of uncertainty and insecurity. This applies not just to institutions but to us as humans. The certainties I grew up with now seem less tangible and I genuinely worry for the kind of future that my young son is facing in terms not just of work prospects but in securing a safe and civilized environment in which to live.
(* Unfortunately, history does often repeat itself when lessons are not learned. We may wonder how the nightmare of the first two World Wars in the last century could so easily have escalated out of control. The parallels with our present are no different – if peace talks break down because one side still feels aggrieved then that lays a foundation for evil to divide and rule over us, and wreak havoc in its wake.)
For those ‘lucky few’ with the financial means, then material possessions and ephemeral pleasures have taken hold as a substitute for a deep spiritual hunger. To throw in another couple of clichés, the extremes of wealth and poverty are becoming more pronounced in this ‘dog eat dog’/’survival of the fittest’ world. Is it any wonder that so many of us are just thinking about physical survival that we lose sight of the bigger, spiritual dimension to our life? Why sleepwalk through life with some sort of nihilistic numbness when there is so much potential within us to achieve greatness?
(We are more than just random atoms and molecules and this IDN (inherent directive nature) that makes us who we are comes from a higher source, an Intelligent Being or God. The fact that we are surrounded by the certainty and security of nature (unlike the affairs of mankind) suggests a relationship of unconditional love from our parent God to us as His/Her children. Such love, however, has been unreciprocated and unrequited by us – that now needs to change.)
Do we worship before the God of Evil or the God of Love? We know, from watching news stories, what a Kingdom of Evil is like (with North Korea as perhaps a current extreme and bizarre example) – is there a country out there that we can point to as a Kingdom of Love, even a small country or tiny island, that can point the way to other nation states of what an ideal society can be like? I don’t think there is. However, it is not politics that will get us out of the mess we are in – it is a re-awakening of our spirituality and an understanding of the laws of cause and effect that will move us forward. Time is now running out before we can avert more disasters but why wait for others to get involved before doing so yourself?
(As an aside, I can’t help thinking that a country like the UK is one of the best countries in the world to live in. Having lived here since 1978 - far longer than my upbringing in Ireland – I owe a very strong loyalty and allegiance to ensuring it becomes better and a beacon to other countries. It is by no means ideal, especially if you are poor or marginalized, but there are a lot more positives than negatives to living here.
It is a country that has taken centuries to get to its present level of advancements in areas such as liberal democracy, civil liberties, rule of law, social justice and free market principles. We should owe a debt of gratitude to the sacrifices made in the past by those inspired by their humanity to others to make Britain what it is today. We should also acknowledge that just as there were those inspired by their religious belief in doing charitable deeds, there were many others inspired by no belief except in their wish to serve others in need. That is why humanism is an equally important contributor to our advancement, something that the religious minded should acknowledge.)
Father Moon’s Unification Movement brings together the best of world religious thinking and scientific understanding to offer us a blueprint for lasting world peace. As things stand, world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.) provide only a partial understanding to our purpose in life and therefore often bitterly divide nations and communities, with each side claiming some sort of divine authority and/or moral high ground. There are elements of truth in each world faith but no collective will to bridge each other’s gaps and unify the world into one common belief system which is a necessary first step to world peace.
Nor can world peace ever be achieved through man-made ideologies, whether from the Left or Right. Liberal democracy, socialism, free market capitalism, communism etc. may try to address the external challenges of how we cope with living among each other in relative harmony but they do not address the internal affairs of our human condition that religious belief may purport (but too often fail) to do.
Social justice and a fair redistribution of wealth is essential but it also needs a strong rule of law and a wealth creation mechanism that can only come from free and fair, rather than over-regulated or planned, market principles. The internal spiritual dimension to our lives should then ensure that economic and social equality is achieved for all. God would not want it any other way because each of us is His/Her child and deserving of equal opportunity and treatment – no different to what any parent would wish for each of their children. This is actually the crux of True Parents’ message to mankind.
(I am realistic enough to know that some readers may dismiss this all as perhaps simplistic and idealistic nonsense but I am also confident that, in about 50 years from now, we will look back at this time and wonder how we got ourselves into the fragile mess that’s around us at present. That is why, when reading this content, you may need to take yourself away from any distractions around you in the hope that you see this bigger picture and reflect on what it may mean to you.)
What is certain is that there is greater uncertainty among many people in the established order of things. This is perhaps understandable because those in control of such institutions have often been found wanting. People are now very insecure about the future, none more so than our youth today. The certainties that those of my generation had when growing up, such as job security or the ability to buy your own home, are just not present now and is it any wonder that, beneath the surface, a form of chaos is brewing such that no one knows what to believe in anymore or even what kind of future lies ahead.
The problem for people with political power is that they are often constrained by the very things they originally set out to change. That resistance to change is often endemic within the institutions that confer political power on someone. Many politicians naively promise change to their electorate but soon find they have to compromise with the ‘swamp’ of self-interest lobby groups, institutional inactivity and a self-serving civil service. And yet so many of us put our trust and faith in our politicians as if they have the power to wave a magic wand and make things better for us all.
Politicians don’t do religion, and nor should they. Nor should we expect them to guide us on the ‘big picture’ of what we are all here on this earth for. Without a collective will that comes from tapping into the source of life then, at best, we will continue to muddle along hoping for things to sort themselves out. Left to our own devices, the ‘selfish gene’ within us will predominate, causing us to behave in selfish rather than selfless ways. The blind leading the blind is another cliché that comes to mind when it comes to how we are being led or governed, and therefore little wonder that the rest of us just focus on the materialist world around us and that which we can see and touch. However, deep inside each of us is this massive potential to reach for greater meaning to life and for that which connects us to a past that we came from and a future we are heading to, even after we have shed off this ‘mortal coil’ of physical life.
World population growth stood at 3 billion in 1960 and now stands at 7.8 billion (Jan 2020). It is predicted to increase to 10 billion by 2050. Annually, the increase in numbers is an average of about 80 million, which is like the population of Germany entering each year to compete with and chase ever-scarcer energy and food resources. Localised conflicts could so easily escalate into regional and even global conflicts unless right-thinking nations, albeit through the auspices of a currently ‘toothless’ United Nations, act to curb the excesses of wrong-thinking nations. Despite the best efforts of the international community, no long-term solutions seem possible from either current mainstream belief systems or from political ideology, whether from the Left or from the Right.
Father Moon’s teachings now need serious consideration when so many established wisdoms are found so wanting in properly addressing some of the chaos we see around us. News stories are awash with sometimes extreme examples of man’s inhumanity to man. Without a collective will then how else can we address current extremes in wealth and poverty – both of which conditions can seriously hamper spiritual growth. When you are touched by the love of our True Parents and by the love of God, our Heavenly Parent, then nothing will stand in your way. When you surround yourself with like-minded people who have also been touched by divine love then you will have the faith to move those mountains of fear and doubt away, and set down strong foundations for lasting world peace to eventually appear.
Are we just a ‘dangerous cult’?
Father Moon’s apparently unorthodox method of operations, principally his officiating with his wife over countless mass weddings among his followers, was bound to capture the public imagination, as well as derision, as to what kind of people could subject themselves to this kind of ‘mind control’ such that they would allow an elderly man from a remote faraway country (Korea) choose their spouse for them. The media images of many thousands of couples dressed in similar marriage costumes at some large sports stadium may understandably arouse suspicion that these must surely be ‘brainwashed fanatics’ belonging to a dangerous cult.
Both Father and Mother Moon were originally from North Korea, probably the most outlandish and bizarre of countries to ever exist, since the communists took control of it, with its population institutionally brainwashed by three generations of the Kim IL Sung dynasty holding absolute power and control. Even by Maoist or Stalinist standards, what is happening there is beyond any level of human understanding. Some may therefore be tempted to think that Father Moon must also have exercised similar examples of brainwashing control over his members.
Communist rule took hold there from 1953 after the Korean War and long after True Parents were born. In fact, they were brought up in a highly religious environment where the North was known as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ with high levels of spiritual and religious philosophies from the East and the West. The Korean War changed all that and they had to seek sanctuary in South Korea after the persecution of Christians by the Communists in the North.
One could also point to the opposite spectrum of wealth and freedom that exists in South Korea. These two divided countries could not be further distant to each other and reflect the economic consequences of their ideologies. In fact, the lessons from these two countries should not be ignored by the rest of the world i.e. choose communism and/or totalitarianism and you get North Korea; choose liberal democracy and pluralism and you get South Korea. I have no doubt that Father Moon would prefer that the North became like the South, and not the other way around. Both he and Mother Moon have been very active in seeking a reunification of the two Koreas, with substantial amounts spent on food aid, industries and conferences in these endeavours.
With the founder’s passing, there is less prevalence of the mass wedding phenomenon, although the idea has recently been catching on with many couples in poorer countries deciding to marry at the same ceremony – perhaps a smart way to cut down on wedding costs! Nowadays, it is more common for UM followers to seek out marriage partners for themselves or for their parents to suggest suitable partners, leaving of course the final decision with their children.
(It should also be noted that while Father Moon suggested marriage partners, the choice was still left to each follower to accept or reject the proposed. In our early 20s, many saw it as a tremendous test of faith in accepting a partner, often from a different country that were previously at war with each other, such as a Briton being matched to a German or an American being matched to a Japanese.
Of course, this can raise not just language but also cultural barriers. I believe it can go further because the spirit world of our ancestors can affect us with unresolved grievances that they have carried with them into the next life. Countries that were previously at war with each other do impact on present perceptions and I believe that Father and Mother Moon, in matching such couples together, were doing so as a symbolic reconciliation to overcome any possible historical resentment that still lingers, both on earth and in the spirit world.)
Anyway, this ‘brain-washing’ narrative played into the hands of a sensationalist media, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, in portraying Father Moon as a Rev Jim Jones-type charismatic figure who would eventually lead his followers into some sort of mass suicide scenario, similar to what happened at Jonestown, Guyana, in 1979. The fact that no such event has happened, that noted theologians have praised the orthodox quality of our beliefs (which we refer to as the ‘Divine Principle’), that political leaders from around the world have welcomed our strategy for achieving lasting world peace, have all helped in recent years to elevate us into being described more as a bona-fide movement that now needs serious consideration, rather than as the more negative-sounding ‘cult’. What has also transpired in these intervening years is that divorce rates among Moonie marriages are very low when compared with any country’s national average. Any divorces that took place did so mostly before there were any children (or even sexual consummation for that matter) resulting from their union, where one or both parties agreed not to go ahead.
(This happened in my case when I was matched and blessed by Father Moon back in July 1982 at the famous 2000 couple Madison Square Garden ceremony in New York. At the time, my emotions were all over the place and I was just not mature enough or, I suppose, strong enough in my faith at the time. I subsequently chose not to go ahead with starting a family life and we divorced in 1986 without having consummated our marriage.
As a postscript, I recently heard that this person, an Englishwoman named Elisabeth, passed away into the spirit world back in 2007 from an illness she had while in Japan with her new family. There is now not a day that goes by without my thinking of her kindness, deep faith and love and in some ways this website is also dedicated to her.)
What I can say is that the offspring from such marriages have now developed into well-rounded, focused and life-affirming young people that any nation would be proud to count as among its citizens. Many Unificationists are actively engaged in public service roles and responsibilities and live modest, frugal lifestyles in order to devote their time and energy to helping others. If we were a dangerous cult then none of this would have happened and such detractors now have to eat their words on this point.
(The Mormons were similarly vilified for many decades until it was noticed that many of its followers were engaged in positive acts of service for their communities, such that one of them, Mitt Romney, ran as the Republican candidate in the 2012 US elections, narrowly losing out to Barack Obama by roughly 4% overall. No one batted much of an eyelid as to his suitability because of his Mormon beliefs and I predict that similarly public acceptance of Unificationists, as sometimes followers of Moon are called, will only be a matter of time.)
I would hope that the reader, who has got this far in reading through to this stage, has already formed a more objective view that the UM is neither a ‘cult’ nor ‘dangerous’. One common allegation is the amount of money the UM has made, not just from members fundraising but also from the various industries and businesses connected to us. Firstly, a great deal of the fundraising was largely to support members with their living conditions, as well as contributing towards the costs of local UM events. Secondly, a great deal of the businesses have ended up being a mixture of profit and non-profit making. Newspapers have tended to exaggerate the extent of our income and this needs to be factored in.
Those successful businesses need also to be balanced against those businesses which have performed poorly, not least The Washington Times, which is estimated to have haemorrhaged as much as $1 Billion of UM funds in order to keep the newspaper going as the only alternative to The Washington Post. The UM worldwide conferences for politicians, academics and religious figures to attend have been extremely expensive to run and much of our profits went into paying for these.
It might seem that Father Moon and his family have lived well in large mansions around the world but these properties were not owned personally by Father Moon or by his family. Over a number of years, since the 1970s especially, he has been a target for assassination by a number of state bodies and clearly needed to be housed in properties that could safeguard him. I honestly believe he lived a modest, humble lifestyle.
What now for the Moonies after the death of its founder?
OK, so what now for the Unification Church or the Unification Movement (UM) as I prefer to call it? Calling himself the Messiah was always going to get him into trouble with the established religions and this also fitted conveniently into a media construct of him as no more than a Jim Jones or David Koresh type of cult leader. Two thousand years ago, Jesus was also seen in a similar light, which is why the mob was easily incited by the religious leaders into calling for him to be crucified. In fact, look back at any significant religious leader in the past and you will see a similar pattern of hostility being played out before posterity recognises their achievement, unfortunately usually after they have died and we can’t take back what we said of them at the time they were alive.
Now that he has gone to the spirit world, many may be hoping that his followers will realise that he was just mortal and that the whole thing was just a bad dream and they would then come back into the orthodoxy of mainstream faith. Certainly, that is the viewpoint being given by the Christian press, again with some of its readers’ comments expressing, fairly un-Christianly, that he should now ‘burn/rot in hell’ and that his followers should now seek redemption through the ‘blood of Christ’ before we too suffer a similar fate.
The Unification Church (or FFWPU as it is now called), composed of active supporters, may be small in numbers – perhaps around the 200,000 mark – but the Unification Movement, in its outreach across religious, social and political fields, numbers at least 10 times that number. I personally am not too keen on attaching myself solely to the Unification Church – I much prefer that this is a movement of unification of nations and beliefs – hence my greater allegiance to the UM. I am not particularly religious although on the occasions that I have attended their Sunday service, I have come away with a buzz or euphoria from being around like-minded people. I guess that is one of the attractions of any kind of religious service whenever people meet collectively with shared beliefs.
(But then, the same could be said for going along to a music festival or a football match. Like-minded people will always get a buzz from being around each other. In my case, being with folks I’ve known for over 40 years is a pleasant experience and because we are gathering to invoke the Holy Spirit then often I’ve come away from a meeting with a spring in my step and feeling euphoric.)
In any case, the word ‘church’ restricts us to being seen as just another Christian grouping. I don’t believe Father Moon himself intended to create just another Christian church, among the many hundreds of religious groupings out there with the name ‘church’ within its name. His hand was forced because of the rejection that he suffered when trying to reach out to the established religious groups in his early ministry in Korea. He was left with little option but to form his own movement, both in order to distinguish his teachings from others and to set out a blueprint of conduct for his followers to follow. I guess, because he was brought up a Presbyterian Christian, that he wished to align himself with the Christian traditions and values. However, his teachings go wider and echo the core beliefs to be found within other world faiths and even within the core principles of humanism as well.
I am convinced that the UM theology and ideology will be the future prevailing belief system in the years to come. That is why Unificationism will not die out with the passing of Father Moon – in fact, this is just the start as each one of us stand on our own two feet and carry on the mantle of messiahship that he has bestowed on us. Yes, we are all potential messiahs in what we do from this point on with our lives.
Whether it happens in 10, 20 or 100 years from now, posterity will eventually recognise the great legacy that Father Moon has left behind. Yes, the media may have latched on to a few lines from the countless sermons he has given (mostly which were about how God’s love manifests itself in the world around us and how we can reflect that in our daily lives) and portrayed him as an extreme right-wing demagogue who castigates Jews for killing Jesus or homosexuality and pornography for being an aberration of the human condition. In the days and weeks ahead, I will try to address these and other criticisms levelled at Father Moon. In the meantime, I would ask you to read further the earlier writings below.
I first met Father Moon in 1978 and last met him in 2011, both in London. The overriding sense that I have now of his passing is numbness. Yes, it is the same kind of numbness I felt when first my father and then my mother passed away. In fact, there is not a day that goes by when I do not think of either or both my physical parents. When we lose our parents, we are left very vulnerable in having to stand up on our own two feet and face the world without that protective veil that only our parents can surround us with.
Father and Mother Moon represent my ‘spiritual’ parents. Yes, we refer to them as ‘True Parents’ but that is not intended to supplant or usurp the position of our biological parents in our lives. Critics may have used this to portray Father Moon as some sort of divisive influence on people’s family lives but they are missing the point of why we see them as our spiritual parents. Our spiritual life is what we will take with us into the spiritual world after we die and therefore our spiritual growth is in fact more important than our physical growth. In the next world, I will still sit among my biological parents again and look forward to that relationship being taken to a higher level.
Since 1976, True Parents have been my spiritual parents in that they have given birth, raised and nurtured my soul and internal world. You may be surprised that otherwise sane and rational people such as myself would hold this view. Christianity talks of spiritual rebirth all the time so it is not that strange a concept. As regards what happens after a charismatic leader dies, then imagine how it must have been for Jesus’ disciples in that period after the crucifixion when their spiritual leader died in such a violent way. This all happened so quickly when only five days earlier (Palm Sunday) Jesus had been welcomed into Jerusalem like an uncrowned king. It is likely that the high priests and the mob who sought Jesus’ death also sought the death of his followers at the time.
We know that St Peter, the founder of the Catholic Church in Rome and Jesus’ closest follower, betrayed Jesus (just as Jesus had predicted to him would happen). Three times he denied knowing Jesus or being a follower. Surrounded by a blood-thirsty mob, would any of us have behaved differently? It’s a simple story but highly effective in showing how the human condition never really changes, no matter which century you live in. Knowing that saying ‘yes’ would have meant instant death, would we not also have betrayed Jesus in the same way? And yet that moment of weakness had such an impact in Peter’s later ministry that he went on to do almost super-human things. When sentenced to death in Rome, he asked to be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same way as Jesus.
How often have we shown weakness in crucial moments when tested? I know I carry tremendous amounts of regret over ill-judged comments I’ve made or acts I’ve done in the past, both which have hurt people in significant ways I may not have realised at the time. We may try to subsequently atone for these mistakes with the hope that we will not take them with us to our graves. That is the lot of life. We can beat ourselves up over it but it is what it is. In the movies, we sometimes see stories of people atoning for past mistakes and seeking to make amends. Sometimes the person we’ve wronged is no longer around to apologise to and instead we seek out their son or daughter to provide some benefit to them as a form of apology. Sometimes I wonder if the first half of our life is just an endless series of making mistakes – and then the second half is spent atoning for those mistakes!
I realise I am going off-topic here but since I’ve started then I might as well finish my point. I also know it all sounds very morbid, talking about death, living with regrets etc., but I’m now in my sixties and I guess that’s what folks at a certain age start to think about! On my death-bed, I long for a clear conscience and no regrets, so I can enter the next world with a clean slate and start afresh. Many people’s mistakes tend to happen with immediate family members, which can be why there’s a lot of tear-shedding and a seeking of forgiveness around the death-bed. We might also seek a priest or minister to perform Last Rites and anoint us with Holy Water as an absolution of past acts of commission and omission.
It is now many years since my mother passed away but I still find it hard to look at all the photos, videos and recordings I made of her – it is still very raw and I’m not sure when I will be ready to share them with my son. I suppose it is to do with a sense of disappointment and regret that I could not have done more for her, or for my father, while they were still alive. I think we all have something of that in us.
In Father Moon’s case, I guess I have a similar sense of failure of not doing more for him and his cause while he was alive. This doesn’t mean I am going to beat myself up over it – what’s done is done and it is what I do with my remaining time on the earth in his honour that will help in that healing process. In 1995, I also reconnected with my Catholic faith and attended mass because I saw no essential contradiction between my UM beliefs and the Catholic doctrines, especially as both extol the virtues of family life as the cornerstone of a successful life and society. The Catholic teaching may not be particularly empowering to me as an individual in knowing or understanding God – I get this from UM theology – but it does provide a warm connection to my spiritual roots as a child.
To some extent I have been a bit of a ‘black sheep’ in some of my past Moonie years and the common media perception is that such a person would be ostracised by his followers. This could not be further from the truth and is testament to the high levels of spirituality and faith that such followers have in their dealings with me and others like me. In accommodating many different levels of belief and association, the Unification Movement has shown itself to be a very broad and open ‘church’ with a warm heart.
In closing, I will say that though Father Moon has passed away, his legacy will live on. Please therefore come on board and help us in bringing about a Kingdom of Heaven on this earth – your ancestors in the spirit world are waiting to help in your task.