The Early Unification Church History
WHERE WERE THE PREPARED PEOPLE?
Our purpose for moving to San Francisco was to find people and build a foundation for the dispensation in America. This mission now became the center of our lives. Finding people, prepared people, was the way to accomplish the mission. Who and where were the prepared people, and how do we find them?
Who are prepared people? We believed, and I still do, that many people are prepared for this dispensation. As it is often said in Christianity they are ready to be called. Some people, because of their spiritual heritage, are desperately looking for something -- something new. Unfortunately, there are many paths available, but often they lead to nothing new. When prepared people confront the Divine Principle, they are ready. Their acceptance is not just happenstance. The spiritual heritage of their ancestors or parents has opened the door. Some are ready and recognize this as something they have always looked for, while for others it does not come easy, those challenge every paragraph.
We were in San Francisco to witness. The word witness held negative connotations for myself and some other members, mostly because of its association with the Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian fundamentalists. However it is a very respectable Christian term and activity. Raised in a Methodist church, with little emphasis on fanatical things such as witnessing and salvation, I found myself involved with something very foreign to me. I did witness and found that my ability to witness was directly related to my spiritual level at the time. The Christians speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, people are able go beyond themselves.
THE FAMILY MEETINGS
We had been in San Francisco several months when Miss Kim called us together one night for a "family meeting". The family meetings sometimes, but not always, had a feeling akin to being sent to the principals office in grade school. She was very upset, and said since we arrived in San Francisco, not one intelligent person had come to hear The Divine Principle. It was true.
Miss Kim was capable of becoming angry, and on this occasion she chewed us out thoroughly. She was totally frustrated and laid it out to us, if we didn't shape up she was either going to dump us, and start all over again or return to Korea. Having made her point very clearly, she closed by giving a very tearful and moving prayer in Korean. After this we became very serious at witnessing.
During the early days, we witnessed to some incredibly unprepared people, maybe because it was easy. We would improve in this area as we grew spiritually and gained experience. We pioneered a tradition that was carried on faithfully for many years in the Unification Church, witnessing to the young person with the backpack in the bus depot. This was a witnessing tradition that probably peaked during the hippie era. The results there were frequently discouraging. That is not to say that some good people did not come from Greyhound stations.
To be effective in witnessing, Miss Kim always stressed the importance of a strong prayer life among the members. In order to attract spiritually prepared people, it is important for the person who is witnessing to keep high spiritually. Miss Kim always told us that a we could not bring in people spiritually higher than ourselves. We therefore needed to keep spiritually high through prayer. As we grew spiritually, the quality of people improved.
We witnessed everywhere, at bus stops and on buses, at work but especially churches. We attended as many as four five on a Sunday. The church services and group meetings yielded few results. The orthodox churches were spiritual deserts, they were filled with elderly people and only an occasional youthful face. The people were probably good people but definitely not ready for a new message. Years later, in a much changed world, the churches are much more prepared, with thousands of ministers going to Korea for a workshop on the Divine Principle, and many even being blessed.
Doris and Pauline were our stars when it came to witnessing. They were fired from several restaurant jobs for witnessing to customers. Some of the men they found were far more interested in Doris and Pauline than in seeking higher spiritual truth.
We had one man arrive at the center, dressed in a suit and tie with a bottle of wine. He thought that he had lined up a hot date. When he found out the girl wasn't in, and was confronted with Miss Kim planning on teaching him the Divine Principle, he made a hasty exit. He seemed a little miffed by it all.
At the time we were still young enough to go to young adult groups at the churches. There we found young adults in their twenties going to meetings sponsored by their church. They were often dull, with anything but inquiring minds. I remember a young Catholic girl that went through the Divine Principle. She thought it was great, probably because she had a very vague understanding of Christianity and Catholicism. She said that she would have to ask her priest what he thought about the Divine Principle. Needless to say we never saw her again.
We attended a revival temple that had an ongoing nightly revival, seven days a week. I don't know how good they were at reviving their congregation with marathon revivals but they certainly excelled in making appeals for money.
One Sunday, Doris and Pauline got several of us to attend a very large black church. That was a real experience for a former middle of the road Methodist. First off, our presence was immediately suspect. They had us stand up and introduce ourselves, and wanted us to testify to when became saved. In later years some members would have found this an opportunity to give a powerful testimony, but we were not quite up to it in those days. The black church's method of collecting the offering was interesting. They didn't pass the collection plate like good old Methodists, but you marched down in front of the alter and threw your money on the table for the congregation to see. Some of the brothers sat at the table counting the offering as it as people filed by. It also seemed strange to have people passing out advertisements as you entered the church, I think one was from a funeral parlor. Our results at that church were minimal, to say the least.
We once went to a flying saucer convention in Oakland, hoping that these people might somehow be prepared for the New Age. We did pick up two members there, however we soon learned that people at flying saucer conventions are not exactly involved with a high level of spiritual inquiry, mostly just phenomena.
None of us had experienced a spiritualist church. Miss Kim told us about mediums and spiritualists, and used examples of experiences in Korea to give us an understanding of the spirit world. One Sunday evening she took us to a spiritualist church. The mediums gave us some very impressive readings and sensed something different about us.
We began attending spiritualist churches to witness, feeling there might be young people there who were searching for something. This proved to be true, the first real member we found in San Francisco was a German girl, Ercila Schuman, whom Doris found in a spiritualist church. Ercila knew Peter Koch and later brought him to hear the Divine Principle. Peter at the time was in his 3rd or 4th year engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
We found many small spiritualists churches in San Francisco, but soon learned that the faces we saw at one meeting were the same faces we would see at the next meeting. Some little old ladies would be in attendance at almost every meeting, getting their umpteenth message from long departed Aunt Flora. You would see a person getting a reading one night. The next night he would be the minister leading the service and giving the readings. We did find a couple of spiritualist ministers who accepted the Divine Principle. The older one passed away some years later but the younger one adhered to the Divine Principle, although not actively connected to the Unification Church. They even came to meet Reverend Moon when he first arrived in the United States.
One of our favorite churches for witnessing in on Sunday night was Florence Becker's, a handsome stone church near downtown San Francisco. Mrs. Becker was a very large lady and one of the most famous mediums in the country. A story was told about her, that during the Second World War, President Roosevelt had her flown to Washington for consultation. I guess it could have been true, after all Hitler planned everything in consultation with his astrologer, and knowing this, Churchill used an astrologer to figure out Hitler's plans.
Reverend Florence Becker would tell people of the conversations they held before coming to her church, and how they planned to trip her up. This was a shaking experience for doubters, and she made believers out of many skeptics.
At first she gave us some very good readings sensing a different spiritual atmosphere. It soon became apparent why we were there, and we found several members at her church, and we soon became persona non grata at Becker's church.
During our witnessing we found many people, who we thought might be searching of something new. They did search for something new, in reality they were spiritual and phenomena junk collectors. They learned everything they can about religion, phenomena and the occult, but never draw any conclusions or make any commitments, unable to sort the meaningful from the garbage. They did nothing more than add the Divine Principle to their collection and continue their endless quest, having no idea where they were going.
It was easy for Miss Kim's spiritually young members to fall into the trap of talking phenomena with these people, which was what they were looking for. Miss Kim was not easily distracted by them and she would stick strictly with The Divine Principle and questions relating to it. She could cut them off sharply, when asked some question about the spiritual phenomena, with "Why do you ask that, that is unimportant", and return to The Divine Principle. She had a sense about whether a person was just a curiosity seeker or seriously seeking something. The serious seeker usually had many difficult and probing questions and she would spend hours answering them point by point.
WHERE WERE THE PREPARED PEOPLE
Our assumption during this period was that God had people who were prepared do work in this dispensation. Our mission was to use every means of finding these prepared people. But with all the time and effort we invested in this mission, the results were meager. The big question was, where are those prepared people that we were so sure were out there?
We rented a lecture hall and advertised in the newspapers, one person showed up. We aired a 15 minute radio program on Sunday morning with Miss Kim giving the Divine Principle. I think it did bring some small result.
Another time we mounted loud speakers on our van and drove through residential areas inviting people to come to meetings. That is not as simple as it sounds, you have to buy a by a permit and have the system inspected by the police department. The results, not even a phone call.
One of our more brilliant ideas for witnessing was when we went to the Jehovah's Witness convention at Candle Stick Park. We were putting fliers on the cars in the parking lot. That time they unceremoniously kicked out of the parking area and told us not to come back.
Doris and Pauline tried street preaching. They went to down town San Francisco and street preach. If our results were meager it was not for lack of effort on the Doris and Pauline's part. The results were not really meager, there were many people who were given the Divine Principle but there were few that really became members.
One time Doris and Pauline came up with a great idea -- at least they tried to convince the brothers it was a great idea and solicit their help. They got about a six by eight foot piece of canvas, painted a message on it. They attached it between a couple of ten foot poles.
There idea was that a couple of the brothers would carry the banner while they street preached. You can imagine how inspiring this idea was to the brothers. Anyway, I didn't do things like that in the Methodist Church when I was growing up.
They were undaunted by our negative reaction, and carried the banner themselves. It was quite a feat traveling on busses with their banner secured on ten foot poles. I am not sure they met any great success using their banner.
The banner was maybe most remembered for the time they took it to a bluff overlooking the ocean at the northwest corner of San Francisco. There was a restaurant and museum there and it was a popular tourist area. While they were marching down the sidewalk with their banner a gust of wind came up, the banner worked like a sail and about blew them into the ocean. I think the banner was soon relegated to a place in the basement of the center, much to the relief of the brothers. The girls tired to lay a guilt trip on us for not enthusiastically carrying the banner while they street preached.
THE MARCH ON UNION SQUARE
While on the subject of street preaching and carrying signs I must not forget the marches on Union Square. Another of the things we tried at a later date, while we were at Masonic Ave., was to have a march on Unions Square. It was probably sometime in 1963, when someone came up with the idea that we should make ourselves known, become more visible. We will hold a rally in Union Square, a downtown San Francisco park, known mostly for it's assortment of soapbox orators, pigeons and park bench residents feeding the pigeons.
All the members came from the surrounding areas, Sacramento, Berkeley, San Jose etc. I remember coming from Burlingame, joking with Jim and Mary, that we were going to carry sandwich boards, and signs down Market Street. Like myself, and coming from a similar background, this was something that was strange, something that radicals did. I didn't know what we were going to do. We just stepped into the center, when the first thing we heard was someone saying get the signs.
We loaded into cars and the van and headed for Market Street. There we marched down the sidewalk, carrying our signs and sandwich boards. After marching a number of blocks along Market Street we then turned up a street a few blocks to Union Square. Someone got up and started preaching as other members witnessed to an assortment of people in the park. There were few people in the park, a few transients along with the usual residents on the benches. Downtown San Francisco on Sunday afternoon wasn't fertile ground for witnessing, again the results were nothing to shout about. I think our catch for the day was one young fellow that stayed overnight at the center who, and as we found later, was wanted by the police. He was a Chinese seaman, who had just jumped ship, and couldn't speak English. There may have been others.
These marches may have gone on for a couple more weekends. In Burlingame we became very active and arranged to teach the Divine Principle on Sunday afternoons so we just couldn't make the marches.
Although the results were meager, it did one thing, it brought a sense of unity among the members that were strung around the Bay Area.
WHAT METHOD IS SUCCESSFUL IN WITNESSING?
Again, the most successful way to witness was personal contact, but obviously Market St. and Union Square on a Sunday afternoon was not the place to contact people.
No matter what we tried, it all comes down to one thing, the only real results are through personal contact, a personal connection with people. Personal contact is the way to bring people, no matter what extravagant schemes are launched, success comes from one on one contact with people. The success of such evangelists as Billy Graham lie in the follow-up by an organized army of individual Christians connecting with the people that came forward during the crusade.
METHODS OF PRESENTING THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE
In the beginning we brought people to study sessions, where we read and discussed the Divine Principle, page by page. Miss Kim led these meetings; She did not feel any of the members were prepared to lecture, or teach, which we weren't.
At the time, Miss Kim felt that she could not express herself well in the English language, therefore felt uncomfortable lecturing in English. She summarized the Divine Principle and recorded the lecture on a four hour tape. In recent years this method has been employed by many members with the videotaped lectures. It works, however there is no doubt that even a poor lecture is better. The personal contact is important.
Using the taped lecture method of giving the Divine Principle, we would bring new people to the center. We than sat with them for the four hours in front of the tape recorder, listening to the recorded lecture. People listened to the lecture and joined even using this crude technique. Peter Koch was the first lasting member to come from this method.
He later led his sister Barbara to check out this crazy group that her brother had become involved with, she also joined. Barbara Koch, at the time was an interior architect in San Francisco. She was later blessed with, Reiner Vincenz, and they became leaders in the Unification Church in Europe and the United States.
Deciding that the 4 hour taped lecture was to long, we trimmed it to two hours. Which was very condensed, it was finally put onto a long play record. There were a couple of problems with getting so much of the Divine Principle in such a short period. It was so condensed that they couldn't possibly absorb much of it. Another problem was, it completely blew some people away. It was said that we threw the bomb and then got caught in the blast.
Another of the early methods of giving new people the Divine Principal was, to meet with people and read the book, with questions being answered during the reading. These sessions would start at 8 A.M. and go till 10 or 11 P.M. with an occasional break. This was a return to the earlier method used by Miss Kim of simply sitting and reading the book over a period of several weeks. The difference in the later method was that it was done in one session. People joined who heard the Divine Principle through this method.
Later the members began to lecture, after the way was pioneered by one member. Miss Kim realized that we could learn to lecture. Many of the early members later became very good lecturers.
Miss Kim stuck to the Divine Principle. As the final part of giving the Divine Principle to someone, she would give them the "conclusion". This was a testimony to Reverend Moon and his mission. It would be easy to get a following by watering down the Divine Principle, or disguising our purpose in order to attract more members, which also worked for some. Miss Kim felt, the whole purpose was to give people the Divine Principle and then introduce them to Reverend Moon. Her idea was to quickly wean them and then feed them meat. This was the method she used to establish a strong core of early members who understood The Divine Principle.
I am sure her approach, of giving them the entire Principle and letting the chips fall where they may worked. No matter how crudely the Divine Principle is presented, people accept it not by how slickly it is packaged but for the contents of the Divine Principle. Likewise, it seems that no matter how well it is presented, if the people are not somehow spiritually prepared, they reject it. That is certainly not to detract from a good presentation which must be not only the standard but also our duty in presenting the Divine Principle. Our best is necessary.
MEETINGS AND STUDY SESSIONS
After witnessing to people we would invite them to meetings, sometimes we had meetings almost every night. Miss Kim would present the Divine Principle to them often by sitting down and each taking a turn reading. If they were interested we would invite them back for further study. Sometimes it took several weeks of meetings to give the whole Divine Principle.
After that we would have weekly meetings to study. This was the standard, often the older members would go out to witness at night, and Miss Kim would conduct the study session with new members.
There were some people who came faithfully to our meetings, much as they would attend a Sunday service at any church, but they had no real commitment. Here again in San Francisco other than Peter Koch and his sister, Barbara Koch, and Ursula Schumann, who were Germans, we brought no one in.
It was not because we were not working. We had a constant flow of people coming to the center. In the period of a few years we had taken over 1500 people through the Divine Principle. Still no one came from San Francisco, no Americans, no American residents of the city of San Francisco became members.
Gee, maybe we should have brainwashed some of them as we have been accused of doing. If we were to brainwash someone through some devious psychological method, and that can be done, what value would they be to God? They would be people of little value to God or the church with only a superficial understanding of the Divine Principle and of Reverend Moon. People who join for superficial reasons don't stay around long, and the ones that do hang around, sometimes working into very responsible positions usually end up causing untold damage.
Today there is great unrest in the world, caused by God's dispensation of restoration. The turbulence in the spirit world is having a great effect on many people world wide. Many more people are prepared than at our time in the early 1960s in San Francisco.
I am sure at the time there were hundreds and even thousands of prepared people in the United States, but contact was and is the problem. The chance meeting of the prepared person, on a personal level is a problem.
We always had a house full of people, people coming to the meetings, attending and listening to the lectures, but all our effort brought little result.
Anybody that showed signs of being interested in the Divine Principle, we would invite them to move in. Often people would move in, remain a short time and leave. Some only stayed a few days. I have no idea how many. George claimed that this was Miss Kim's method of paying indemnity, it may have been. We sure got some experience from a variety of people through this method. None of them ever joined, but often drained us in many ways.