The Words of the Self Family
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I love my Unification Church District Director, Rev. Randall Francis. We have known each other for quite a number of years and have worked together on many campaigns, True Parents' events, etc. He is caring, conscientious, completely dependable, has a wonderful wife, and is totally loyal to True Parents. During my 35+ years in the movement, I have lived in the DC area a number of times. Over 8 years ago, I moved back to this district and for all that time, Rev. Francis has been in some level of leadership in the church. As far as I know, we have held mutual feelings of love and respect for one another.
Imagine my surprise when I read my emails on the morning of the Day of All True Things, to find a message from Rev. Francis to the entire district family, which among other things, declared that I and all the members in my office and anyone else who dares to associate with Hyun Jin Nim, could no longer speak "in any of our churches in District One".
I was completely flabbergasted. Among my earliest thoughts were, "35 years ago, I was branded a heretic in my Baptist church for supporting True Parents, and now I am branded as a heretic in their church for associating with their son." In a land where so many died for Freedom of Speech in more than one war, I could now speak practically everywhere, except in my own church! I, too, served in the U.S. Army …being one of the last of the draftees, and from my experience, no one holds our freedoms with greater value than those who have been in the military, and who have seen their friends make the ultimate sacrifice to preserve them.
If I literally can't speak in my church, I wondered, will I and my family be given a special muzzle to wear when I go there? Or perhaps we should wear some equivalent of the yellow star so that others will know my status in life and will know not to speak to me?
As the pogrom against Hyun Jin Nim continues, to what lengths will it go? Already, an official message went out to the entire world movement declaring that no internet messages could be sent to our church community without permission from the international headquarters. Also, another stated that no meetings can be held anywhere in the world without prior permission from the international headquarters. Not only are these directions ludicrous, they are impossible to enforce. Yet, that doesn't seem to matter in the frenzy to denounce, ghettoize, condemn and ultimately excommunicate Hyun Jin Nim and anyone who dares to associate with him.
I knew when I first read it, that Rev. Francis' edict of silence only partially originated from him. Sure enough, other district directors are sending similar messages… why? Because they are being directed by their national headquarters to do so, which in turn, is directed by the International Headquarters. So, by edict, such incredible precious members as are supporting Global Peace Festival [GPF], are to be now treated a little less than human"" that is, they don't have the same rights as everyone else. Personal and human relationships that have lasted, in many cases, for decades no longer matter. Because the DECREE has gone out that they are bad and no longer worthy of full human rights.
I and my colleagues received no trial, no hearing, not even a notice before the Decree. We could not face our accusers, or offer any defense. By District (and actually, National and International) Decree, we are branded as guilty and must therefore be silenced. This is how the worst persecutions in history were instigated- by Decree. Herod and Hitler did everything by decree. That may sound extreme, but when it is happening to you and your family it IS extreme.
I have to ask, is this the legacy of our True Parents' movement? When you watch the video of Father writing the June 5th Proclamation, you can see how difficult it was for him to do. When I watch and read the transcript of that video, it certainly seems to me that Father did not originate the idea of the Proclamation. A few times, he thrusts it back at Mother and tells her, "Here, you write it". He also makes the point, "I did not write Hyun Jin Nim's name here". I doubt that he would have said that unless someone had specifically asked him to do so. For whatever reason(s) True Father made the Proclamation, Church leaders are now using it as a decree with which to hammer Hyun Jin Nim and his associates into submission.
What happened to "loving even your enemies"? What happened to "natural subjugation by true love"? These are True Father's real methods, and they are the methods I believe through which Father and Hyun Jin Nim, and the entire Family will eventually be reunited.
Those who know me, know that I have been mostly in public missions for most of my time in the movement. I have worked directly with 36 couples… Tiger Park, Rev. Won Pil Kim, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, Dr. Seuk, Reverend Kwak, etc and for years directly with members of the True Family… Hyo Jin Nim, Jin Hun Nim and now Hyun Jin Nim. I have been at East Garden and other sites with True Parents, hundreds of times for leaders' meetings, etc. I have witnessed countless intrigues, jealousies, competitions, etc that have swirled around our True Parents, and yes, within the True Family. Yet, I have never seen such extremes as those that are now being instituted.
UPF [Universal Peace Federation] represented the fruition of True Father's 40 years of effort to establish a genuine world peace movement; a movement that incorporated genuine interfaith relationships. Ambassadors for Peace were appointed around the world, with the understanding that UPF was open for all faiths and that as an Ambassador for Peace, you would not be pressured to change your faith.
In 2009, I resigned from UPF because simply, UPF left that type of effort and became a project dedicated to promoting the Unification Church. If you read the new UPF-USA National Director's latest report, it shows that building up and promoting Lovin Life Ministry is really the most important agenda for UPF-USA. The new International Chairman of UPF made it crystal clear in his sermon from Taiwan, where he stated flatly, "The mission of all these projects, including UPF, is simple…….to proclaim True Parents as the Messiah and Lord of the 2nd Advent". Now, this is fine for our church, and is what has been expected from church members for decades.
However, it is not the appropriate effort for an organization that is purporting to be a genuine interfaith enterprise. UPF proclaims True Parents' messiahship in more and more public meetings now. When UPF brings VIPs to the Palace, they are greeted with a speech that pronounces that Rev. and Mrs. Moon are the 2nd Coming, Messiah, etc. Again, there is nothing wrong for our Church to do this.
But True Father and our movement worked so hard for decades to create the "big net" foundation for a genuine world peace movement based on true interfaith. Now, more and more Ambassadors for Peace are feeling that they were the victims of a "bait and switch", that is, they accepted an appointment which was based on real interfaith and are now being forced to accept the conclusions and tenets of the Unification Church.
Even the Blessing was given by True Parents universally, to peoples of all faiths. How can such a dichotomy and contradiction be good for the Providence and our movement's mission?
In contrast, GPF has not changed. It follows exactly the thread of True Father's Peace Messages. And contrary to all of the accusations that Hyun Jin Nim is doing everything for himself, Hyun Jin Nim, in EVERY public speech and important meeting with VIPs, TESTIFIES to True Father's role in the founding and guiding philosophy of GPF. Our movement's scope of responsibility is of course global, i.e.. Universal. Everyone can relate to "One Family under God", but it is a totally different story if you hear "One Church under God" for large segments of the world's population.
My brothers and sisters, I am neither ignorant nor naïve about what is going on now in our movement. I and my family have been praying desperately for healing and ultimate unity within the True Family and within the movement. I am convinced that organized public attacks on any member of the True Family are harmful to our movement and to our mission. I am deeply concerned about the future of our efforts and the legacy that our collective movement is establishing. Yet, bottom line, all of us must follow our consciences in our decisions. For me, it is clear that we need both the Church and the global peace movement. We need both the "Sphere of Life" and the "Public Sphere".
Whether I can now say it in church or not, I love every member of our movement. No one is here easily. I am confident that we will come through the current crisis successfully, because, among other factors, we are all stubborn Moonies who just don't give up easily.
In True Parents' Love,
Howard C. Self