40 Years in America

Betsy Jones

The Jones family in early years

I grew up in a typical Irish Catholic family outside of Boston. From the time I was in second grade, I wanted to visit God in church because I thought it brought joy to God. I thought stopping my regular activities and going to church to be with God brought joy to God. In high school I was the Prefect of the Sodality, devoted to Mary. We tried to maintain a standard of prayer and devotion to Mary, to bring joy to Jesus and God.

After high school I felt called to join a convent like my elder sister. One nun told me that if I had the call I would never be happy with just a secular life. I thought bringing joy to God would ultimately bring me joy too. I went to Boston College to study nursing. I thought I should try that for a year instead of going into the convent at age 18 like my sister. I knew I had to devote myself to the community while I was at school. In my freshman year I ran for president of my class, and then I ran for president of the student government. After that I thought I should devote a year of service to the Catholic Church.

So I went as a missionary for the Catholic Church, to the West Indies and Jamaica. I set up clinics for little children. I worked among the poor for a year and I was shocked by the poverty. I had hoped that year would satisfy my desire to do something for God. It kept coming back to me that I had more to do for God. My mother suggested that if I still desired to do something for God that I should go to graduate school. I talked to the school guidance counselor about the fact that I still had a desire to do something for God. Then I went to a Jewish therapist and talked with him for a year. I can see now that it was some kind of preparation for the future for me to have done this. When I did meet the church, I had the ego strength to look beyond my religion. I wasnít searching then. Because my whole life was so surrounded by the Catholic community, I probably wouldnít have had the courage to join. But because I had been talking to this person about my whole experience, I was in touch with myself at that point and thought that this was the answer to the longing that Iíd had.

So later, when I met the Unified Family I joined. I had known Farley Jones when we were a waiter and a friends then. I met him as a graduate student years later. He asked me as a good Catholic what I thought about the fall of man. I was really impressed. I didnít think he was super religious but he was intelligent. His spirit and his belief system had changed because of the Divine Principle. I was impressed that he had such a clear understanding. I agreed with the Fall of Man, but not the part about Jesus. He said he would tell me more about it as he studied it. I went on with my life thinking that I would marry another person who was Catholic. Eventually, I got some letters from Farley Jones that the universe was changing and the cosmic spring was coming and that I should look into this when I returned to New York. I wasnít interested in joining a new religion, but I was happy for him that he had found this spiritual oasis which I felt in his letters.

When I went back to New York, I never went to the center. But he had given my name to them. Diane Fernsler called me then and I started to study the teaching. At the time, I was receiving a national traineeship to go to graduate school and I felt kind of proud of that. But then these people who were teaching me made me feel so at home. I felt that I was coming home every time I went there. I was very moved by their little place by Times Square. This teaching was going on in such a humble way.

The Lord of the Second Advent topic gave me a lot of conflict. Especially the part about True Parents being on earth and that they were fulfilling the role of the Second Advent. I had to pray about whether that was true or not. I was very serious about my relationship to Jesus. I didnít want to misrepresent God and Jesus whom I felt very serious about. For many weeks, I attended a prayer meeting at Wesley Samuelís house out in Brooklyn.

Then I heard a voice comforting me, saying, "Donít worry, itís all true." The last thing I wanted to do was join this very humble group. But then I knew I should join. So I signed the membership. I knew I should live with them. Then they lost their apartment in Times Square and moved into my apartment. My roommate moved out and said that she knew she would be standing in Godís way if she stayed, so she made way for what we were doing. We nailed up a blackboard in the living room. I lived in the center and continued in graduate school. I felt a lot of support from the members. It was very hard to proclaim this in the same city where I had been living and going to school. I had knots in my stomach the first time someone came to hear my lecture. The more I explained it, the more I understood it, and the more true it seemed to me that Jesusí mission had not been completed. I could see that True Parents were fulfilling this role.

I wanted to live with older members. There were only three of us in New York. I wanted to go to Washington, D.C. where Young Oon Kim was. Then she sent me to work with Dr. Ang and Farley Jones in Berkeley, California, and she sent Marie Ang and Linna Rapkins to Canada. I went from being a spiritual youngster to being a mother figure in Berkeley, with Dr. Ang and Farley Jones. This was 1969. People started to join through our witnessing efforts. It was amazing, taking responsibility for peopleís lives. It was a profound summer. Then we heard True Parents were coming. I was so happy to meet them. I had a very deep experience meeting them. I could see how spiritually bright they were, and how sincere they were. Their first question was, "What is your name" and "How many spiritual children do you have?" I was so proud to say that I had three spiritual children. They wanted to have a special relationship with us. So the early missionaries tried to prepare us to meet Father and our witnessing experience helped us to understand them.

Early Blessings

Father was very sacrificial with his time, sometimes speaking all night to us. He was trying to arrange the first blessing. He did it in a very sensitive way. He had interviews and asked each person what they thought. I didnít have an interview, but Miss Kim asked me about three brothers. Fatherís heart was so sincere to understand each of us, what would be best for each of us. I saw him in the hall once, and he said, "Your time will be next time." I was relieved. I was only a year and half in the church then. He selected 13 couples. Vivian Burley and I served them food on that first visit. They had so few clothes then. Mother tried to give me her best blouse once, but I couldnít receive it because they had so few things. I had the joy that time of taking them shopping to buy clothes for their public work.

They tried so hard to be parental towards each of the 13 couples that were blessed. They asked them all to sing after the blessing, and the rest of us were a choir. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of, but we were offering our life and didnít know where it would end up. I felt very peaceful about that.

I took over the center directorís position in New York because Diane was blessed and was moving to Philadelphia. I was a psychiatric nurse during the day to pay the bills for the center, and then I was the center director. It was good for me to try to be a spiritual leader. Later we heard from Miss Kim that Farley and I, and Rebecca and Neil and other 777 couples, should go to Japan and Korea. There were seven couples from America. We traveled all over Korea and Japan. Father spoke to us quite a bit while we were in Korea. It helped a lot to see all the international couples, the ones from Korea and Japan and the 15 couples from Europe. He spoke to us each day on different topics. He listened to each of our confessions personally, one by one. We shared our heart and our sin with him, and he really represented Godís forgiveness to us.

He called us in the middle of the night to receive the wine ceremony. The wine goes from True Father, to the wife and to the husband, and I had a very deep experience with that. I felt a special feeling of Father in that role. I had that experience twice in Korea. He was the link to God for me, and from me to my husband. After the wine ceremony I went back to my room to go to sleep. I was trying to go to sleep, and I felt that my ancestors were happy. I even sat up in bed and said, "Isnít it great?" I felt like something had changed; it was a new beginning. At the holy ground I felt that all was forgiven. Before we left, Father spoke to us and kept saying, "Love your enemy. Love your enemy." He said your enemy will become your mate. We had had a good relationship up until then, but when we returned we were on a new level for our couple.

Farley was the president of the church. And somehow for us, the "enemy" had set in. There was a lot of pressure on our couple. We were really struggling with each other. Farley had a lot of pressure to think only of the mission and not think of his spouse, to restore things, to keep the standard. I went the other way. I had been very dedicated as a single person, but once we were a couple I was worried about insurance and an apartment. About a year and a half later when Father came again, he called me in to talk because he had heard about our fights. He said, "Why do you fight with your husband?" At first I wanted to say that it was because of this and because of that, but somehow I realized that I needed to be totally honest. I said, "Well, I guess I want him to be like me." He laughed and said, "Your personality is 50 percent and your husbandís personality is 50 percent."

His counseling was very sensitive. My attitude wasnít right then but he was trying to guide me. If a woman continues to get mad at her husband, sometimes the man will turn away and not come back. You have to be careful. Recognize that he has some heart. I have to see what he is doing. I realized that Farley was trying to represent the mission.

Father said, "What kind of life do you want in the spiritual world? Do you want a life where you live in a nice house in the mountains where the sunset comes over the mountains? If you want that, you have to give up certain things in your life on earth. You have to sacrifice something on earth to have that kind of thing later." I went to where my husband was sleeping that night, and even though he was sleeping I really repented to him, and pledged that I would change. It was a turning point for our couple.

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