40 Years in America

Michael Hentrich

I met the Unification Church on September 1st, 1975, after a year or so of intense Christian search through the Bible and in prayer. I had motorcycled around the Western U.S. after college, in search of my future professional home and was mystically and strongly drawn to move to Minneapolis. I temporarily settled into a hotel caretaker position in downtown Minneapolis where I continued my spiritual quest. I had just completed a several-year-long effort to construct a near-perfect stereo system and, when I finally achieved the perfection of sound that I had long sought, I felt totally betrayed and let down by the fact that I realized the monster speakers in each corner of my living room had replaced people in my life. I determined to get rid of them, after spending years obsessed with how to perfect them. I decided that since I had made them as icons to replace people, even though unconsciously, that they would likely take on the same distorted meaning in someone elseís life if I sold them. So, I carried them out to the hotel incinerator and burned them. At the same time, I looked at myself in the mirror and felt my bushy Afro hairstyle and mustache were just not an expression of the real me. I also had just finished my first complete reading of the Bible and my prayer life was intense. Also, my efforts to find a position as an industrial designer seemed to be blocked at every turn. I was a gifted and talented designer and inventor, but no one would consider me for a job. I prayed to God as all these things converged that He show me what He wanted me to do, and I promised Him that whatever it was He wanted me to do, I would be happy as long as He was happy.

A short time later, I met my spiritual parents on a bench downtown while I waited for a jewelry store to open so I could sell a gold ring I had found in a drainpipe. They walked up to me and said, "Do you believe in God?" That was John Foss and someone name David, who shortly thereafter left the Church. I thank my ancestors because the Principle was so logical and clear to me. After hearing Chapter 2, I was amazed and knew I was where God wanted me to be. It was interesting, because after my first weekend workshop in Greenville, Iowa (we had an old schoolhouse there for workshops), I was sitting in the group discussion after the conclusion lecture and the group leader left the group in disgust since no one had offered to join.

I had to run after him to ask if there was any room for another new member. I heard later that most people thought I would never join. They thought I was far too "Christian." But, I was a self-thinker and critical of any idea, so I was not one to stumble on doctrine. The Principle was obvious truth to me. This later proved to be a stumbling block to my own witnessing, I found, because I expected to easily find people like myself, which was not the case at all. I didnít realize how well prepared I was and how few people seemed to be like me. I gave my car and money to the church center and moved in. My parents did not know what to think since I had cut my hair, burned my cherished stereo, abandoned my college career which my parents paid for, and moved in with this little-known group, the "Moonies."

Persecution was heating up at that time. They were very concerned and asked lots of people. The worst thing was that they were visited by deprogrammer types and fed all kinds of garbage which really damaged my father. But, I give them a lot of credit for deciding to let me do what I felt I must do.

When my parents came to my seminary graduation, my father would not even go into the building because True Father was there. It was an intense time. They did not come to our Blessing at Madison Square Garden, either. But my grandparents did come. We later Blessed my grandparents, as well as Grandpaís brother, Louis, and his wife Josie, who are Father Patrickís parents. I could sense Patrickís spirit at their house when we went there to bless his parents. He was so excited. The first time I saw Father was at a gathering in Minneapolis, I think. I remember I was wondering if I would see anything mystical. I didnít. But, that was okay.

The first time Father saw me was at Belvedere. There was a big holiday and a lot of sports activities on the lawn. Father and Mother were sitting and watching us play sports, and I remember clearly that one time when I turned my back to Father on the sports field, he looked at me from behind and peered deeply into my spirit. I felt like all of my ancestors tore loose from me, turned around and bowed to Father. It was an unforgettable experience. I felt like my spirit world and I were momentarily ripped apart. I felt like he inspected my whole spirit world and knew everything about me. I believe he did.

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