40 Years in America
The Completed Testament Age 1993-1999
Rev. Moon speaking in Long Beach, California, during the Completed Testament Age Tour
It was hard to imagine how Reverend Moon could top his declaration of messiahship in 1992. However, he may have done so by proclaiming the beginning of a whole new historical epoch in 1993. In a speech, "The Reappearance of the Second Coming and the Completed Testament Era," delivered at Belvedere International Training Center, Tarrytown, New York on January 10, 1993, Rev. Moon announced "the transition today to the Completed Testament era."
Although details as to the precise nature of the new epoch were as yet sketchy, it was understood to involve a fundamental shift in the order of salvation. As one church leader explained, "Previously, religious organizations have always been centered upon the salvation of the individual, but we have now progressed to the salvation of the family."
The implications of this were momentous. Essentially, it signaled a radical new beginning for the movement and rendered all previous religious expressions, including that of the Unification Church, obsolete. Within a few years, the church began to reconfigure itself as a "Family Federation," developed theological concepts and terminology reflective of the shift, and launched into efforts to realize a restored and purified Garden of Eden. The gateway to the Completed Testament Age (CTA) was the Blessing, which extended far beyond the Unificationist community during the 1990s. In fact, members routinely referred to the "globalization" of the Blessing. Probably because of its association with "holy" experiments and new beginnings, the CTA also signified a renewed role for the U.S. and the Americas.
Most of these developments were not apparent in 1993. The immediate concern was to proclaim the message of the new age in coordination with the earlier declaration of messiahship. On April 10, 1993, the movement published a statement, "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age," in the newspapers of 160 nations. Then, in May 1993, Rev. and Mrs. Moon began a tour of thirty-three U.S. cities under the same theme. Whereas Korea was the venue for their proclamation of messiahship, the U.S. was the launching pad for Rev. and Mrs. Moonís proclamation of the Completed Testament Age. Rev. Moon spoke in the first twelve cities between May 13 - 24, 1993. Mrs. Moon then covered twenty-one cities between May 26 - June 28th.
The tour was extended to include twenty-three additional cities during July, thereby covering all fifty states. A highlight of the July segment was Mrs. Moonís speech at Capitol Hill on July 28th before representatives from 115 congressional offices. That same day, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution designating July 28th as national "Parentsí Day." Senator Trent Lott (R Mississippi) went on record as joining the Womenís Federation for World Peace in celebrating the occasion and urged his colleagues in the Senate and all citizens in the nation to recognize and support True Parentsí Day. Although few, if any, legislators understood the symbolic significance of their action and although church opponents later attempted to expose various membersí role in the enactment, the designation was gratifying.
Mrs. Moon traveled throughout the world, here addressing members in Auckland, New Zealand, following her public speech.
Mrs. Moonís speech at the United Nations in New York on September 7, 1993 served as a springboard to the world tour. That she had delivered the message of "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age" at the UN as well as on Capitol Hill afforded credibility when scheduling major venues abroad. Between September 11th - 30th, Mrs. Moon conducted twenty-five rallies in Japan, the highlight being her speech before 50,000 at the Tokyo Dome. At that particular rally, Princess Eva Marie of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Marilyn Quayle, wife of the former Vice-President of the U.S., offered remarks. In October 1993, Mrs. Moon delivered the CTA message before audiences at forty Korean universities, often speaking at two different campuses on the same day. Then, beginning on November 2, 1993 and extending for the next fifty-three days, Mrs. Moon traveled the globe delivering the message to audiences in forty countries. The tour covered Europe, the former Eastern bloc communist and Balkan states, the Middle East, Africa, South America and the Orient. Simultaneous with Mrs. Moonís world tour, Rev. and Mrs. Moonís older children and several of their spouses delivered the "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age" message to audiences in forty additional U.S. cities on weekends and often in churches between October and December 1993. The following spring, between March 8-April 27, 1994, Mrs. Moon and her adult children and in-laws undertook a "100-Campus Speaking Tour" in the U.S., once again proclaiming "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age."
The speech itself was challenging on a number of levels. For secular or non-Christian audiences, it introduced unfamiliar terminology and content, which appeared to be rooted almost entirely in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Adam and Eve, the Human Fall and Satan, the Cain/Abel relationship as a paradigm for world history, and Biblical figures such as Rebecca and Jacob, Tamar, and Mary all figured prominently in the message. Beyond that, the very concept of the Completed Testament Age implied that it was an extension of the "Old" and "New" Testaments. Some resultant problems were acknowledged in tour reports, particularly in the Middle East. There, as one report noted, many church missionaries had "gone to jail, been deported and endured various hardships." In Jerusalem, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel threatened to revoke the kosher license of the hotel where Mrs. Moon was to speak and a few hundred Orthodox Jews demonstrated. In Istanbul, a substantial number of the Muslim audience walked out during the speech. Rev. Kwak noted that in India, a political official introduced Mrs. Moon, "saying that he did not understand the theme," and that in Taiwan, though many of the 4,000 gathered "probably did not understand the Biblical terminology...still they did not fidget but sat quietly and listened to the speech."
Mrs. Moon presented her talk at the United Nations, New York.
The message also was challenging to Christian audiences. Some of the problems were longstanding. Unification positions on the failure of John the Baptist and the necessity of Jesus to take a bride, restated in the CTA proclamation, had been a source of strain before. However, the explicit messianism of the text was new. Rev. Moon, for example, announced that if he and the Christian churches had "become one" following World War II, "the heavenly kingdom would already have been established on earth as well as in heaven." He stated that he paid indemnity, or restitution, for "all of history" over the past forty years, and that unlike "American leaders, prominent Christians, and other leading figures of the world" who have "only a faint idea of the forces that shape the future...I know the direction that humankind must go, and I, with the help of God, will lead the world there." All of this built up to the proclamationís concluding declaration. As Rev. Moon phrased it,
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege to announce to you the establishment of the first True Family. My wife and I, together with our thirteen children and twenty-four grandchildren, are absolutely dedicated to serving God and humanity. With three generations in one family, we have achieved on the family level, the central root, the central trunk, and the central bud of the "Tree of Life" mentioned in the Bible. It is our sincere hope that you will symbolically graft into this lineage by joining us in our efforts to create an ideal nation and world. This marks the beginning of the Completed Testament Age.
This explained why Rev. and Mrs. Moon enlisted the participation of their family in the CTA speech tours and was consistent with the transition from individual to family-based salvation. In addition to True Parents, Rev. and Mrs. Moon now proclaimed the True Family. The invitation to symbolically graft into this lineage referred to the Blessing, and one of the purposes of announcing the CTA was to help prepare the way for the blessing of 360,000 couples planned for 1995. Still, these statements and sentiments could hardly have been expected to receive instantaneous acceptance. One American member referred to "proclamation shock" among listeners.
Though in different ways, the CTA tour was a challenge to Unificationists. Externally, members arranged and financed venues and did their utmost to fill auditoriums, often at quite short notice. Internally, they had to alter their consciousness about the CTA. Many understood that the CTA already had arrived and that The Principle was a Completed Testament text. In fact, Rev. Moon announced the CTA in several speeches to members during the 1970s and 1980s. The CTA tour served notice that religious gradualism was out and apocalyptic immediacy was in. It also signaled a renewed evangelistic thrust reminiscent of the 1970s. However, there was an important difference. Previously, the movement witnessed indirectly to the coming Messiah as the "new hope" or "new future" of Christianity. Now, it was witnessing directly to messianic fulfillment.
It also should not be overlooked that the CTA tour was challenging for Rev. and Mrs. Moon and their family. Part of the challenge was physical: fatigue, constant travel, temperature swings and changes of season, the crossing of time zones, unfamiliar food, etc. Rev. Moon had a fever, and Mrs. Moon fought the flu during her first twelve speeches. However, the more serious challenges were internal. There were numerous sources of strain. One was cultural. There also were national barriers. As the movementís Continental Director of Asia, Byung Woo Kim commented, "Satan is always standing at the immigration area, and strong nationalism is controlling the world." The possibility, and in certain areas the reality of religious opposition also presented pressure. Mrs. Moon acknowledged "many difficult and upsetting parts within the speech." In one testimony, she stated, "I can speak and it is the truth, but there are times when I wonder if they will throw stones at me."
For all these pressures, undoubtedly the most severe strain was living up to messianic expectations. Rev. Moon discounted appeals that he live a little more freely after the proclamation of the CTA, saying, "Because I have proclaimed myself to be the Messiah, history and mankind will closely observe how the Messiah lived after such a proclamation." According to Rev. Kwak, "Although he wrote the CTA speech, Rev. Moon nevertheless carefully read it for more than an hour every night and again in the morning and on the airplane for the purpose of infusing more spiritual pressure and power into it." For her part, Mrs. Moon was expected to be not just uniformly gracious and giving but to demonstrate the same depth of heart and commitment as her husband. Even more taxing was the necessity of testifying not on behalf of others but to themselves! This was not easy. To proclaim oneself among followers was one thing, but to do so in public risked ridicule and censure or even worse, indifference.
Yet there was no one else among the membership to undertake this task. In proclaiming themselves, the existential burden was great. Rev. Moon was not one to speak openly of personal struggles. However, in a recorded prayer, he referred to the "huge" mission of True Parents and stated, "No matter how hateful and difficult it is, we must go on."
It would be a mistake to assume that these challenges overwhelmed or invalidated the tour. The truth was the opposite. Given the obstacles, which were overcome, movement spokespersons might be forgiven a certain amount of hyperbole. One leader wrote, "When they were speaking, Father and Mother looked like teachers and all listeners looked like children." Another stated that audiences were "spiritually overpowered, so that they could only listen immobilized." While it may not have been quite as triumphant as these sources indicated, the CTA tour revitalized the movementís worldwide membership and as mentioned it heightened membersí consciousness about the CTA and introduced a note of apocalyptic immediacy. Beyond that, it afforded members in mission countries a sense of direct participation in the movementís mainstream providence. Mrs. Moon and her party were able to visit dynamic mission areas in Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Rev. and Mrs. Moon together visited the Oceania region for the first time. In this respect, the CTA tour was an essential building block in the movementís globalization. At a more subtle level, the tour expanded the movementís definition of membership. In their speeches, Rev. and Mrs. Moon spoke as if they were addressing in-house audiences, and throughout the 1990s there was a general collapsing of distinctions between insiders and outsiders. This was an uneven but revolutionary process for the movement. Essentially, Rev. and Mrs. Moon took seriously the proposition that they were the True Parents for all humankind and that a new age had begun. Under these conditions, they embarked upon an ambitious program of global salvation.
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