The Words of the Young Family
The goal to purchase and distribute 430 copies of True Father's autobiography seemed financially out of our reach, but we wanted to unite with the spirit of the condition and do what we could rather than dismiss the directive altogether. We started by buying ten books which then sat on a shelf for three months. For some reason, it seemed a little scary to try to give them out. But several factors got us going.
First, we read in some Hoon Dok Hae notes that distribution of the autobiography was an important condition for America. True Father (True Father) also said something to the effect that there's a miracle in the Word. When Jack prayed about it, he felt strongly that when we give the autobiography to a person, it gives God the chance to bring a miracle into his or her life. And, amazingly, the vehicle God uses to deliver the miracle is none other than we ourselves–as meager and inadequate as we are!! Jack thought, "Who am I, that I get to deliver a miracle?" It's an honor to have this opportunity!" Father also said that if people just have the book in their possession it will give them spiritual protection.
Second, our national pastor, In Jin Nim, is extremely concerned about protecting religious freedom. She meets with congressmen each week to impress upon them the importance of protecting religious rights. When Jack participated in the rally protesting Japanese abductions, he felt more urgent about distributing the autobiography. If religious freedom is under attack in Japan, it may only be a matter of time before it is under attack everywhere. He felt if people read the autobiography, it is less likely they will be influenced by negativity in the media and more likely that they will speak out in defense of religious freedom should it come under attack in America.
The third impetus to begin the book distribution was when Pastor Kevin Thompson started an excellent lecture series at the Bay Area Family Church about the History of the Unification Movement. These lectures gave us renewed confidence to explain Father and our movement to others. The lectures also provided a review of Buddhist, Confucianist, Christian, and shamanist influences on our theology which better enable us to relate to people from various religious backgrounds.
Through the above, we felt the seriousness of the condition and also felt better prepared to speak with people. At the outset, we never imagined completing the condition. We just thought we'd do what we could, and bought 40 more books. Since Jack is currently unemployed, he took responsibility for giving out the books.
With a heart to love the people and show them our best side, Jack went house-to-house in a nearby neighborhood for about an hour, Monday through Friday. It involved a lot of walking and waiting–one in three houses was vacant, and many people were not home. He only gave a book to people who agreed to receive it. He did not leave books on doorsteps or mail them out. Of those who were home, four out of five were pleasant and agreed to take the book. On average, he gave out eight books an hour, but this number increased as he went out later in the day when more people were home. He picked neighborhoods to the north, south, east, and west of our home, to rich and poor neighborhoods, and everything in between.
After our supply of books had been given out, we received an unexpected surprise! Jack's mother decided to give each of her children money to use now rather than wait for an inheritance later. Our children also gave us donations for the purchase of more books. Thus, we were able to buy the rest of the books we needed to fulfill the condition.
Jack's results improved dramatically when he started going to apartments rather than houses. He could distribute up to a case an hour. It was harder because there were staircases to climb to access second-story apartments, but it was worth it.
Jack's approach line was: "I would like to give you this free book. It's an important book. It's about a modern-day prophet, still living, and this is his autobiography." He spoke slowly and clearly. He felt that the less he said, the more spirit world had a chance to inspire the person and the less chance that something he said would get in the way. After his intro, Jack placed the book in the person's hands so they could see Father's picture. Internally he was thinking, "A prophet in our own time!! How blessed are we to know that!!!" While the person looked at the cover, Jack said one or more of the lines below:
"His name is Rev. Moon";
"Towards the end of the book, he shares ideas for solutions to some of the problems we face today, such as solving world hunger";
"He is dedicated to creating world peace through ideal families";
"He believes religious people must unite and work together as one family under God to solve the problems facing the world today."
If they asked why the book was important or why he was giving it out, Jack said: "It's been said that his teaching is the best kept secret in America. That's why I'm giving a copy to you and your neighbors today." If they accepted the book, Jack said, "I left my name and phone number in the book if you have any questions." If they didn't accept the book, Jack took it back and said, "Thank you for your time."
Jack modified his introduction as he learned what worked and what didn't. He found that people responded better when he spoke in more general terms. For example, during the first week, he said, "A Buddhist monk who heads a major monastery stated that Rev. Moon fulfills the prophecy of the return of Buddha." The person didn't want the book because it wasn't Christian.
A few Christians argued that the Bible says there can't be any more prophets. Jack replied: "Before the time of Jesus, God sent many prophets in order to prepare the people to receive Christ. It's been said that we're in a parallel time today." Some took the book; some didn't.
Some Christians brought out their Bibles and tried to engage in theological debate. Jack said, "I can see you love your Bible. I do too. No problem if you're not interested. Good bye."
One man said, "I can't read the book. I'm Catholic." Jack asked, "Can't you read a book by another religious man?" The man seemed slightly annoyed by this question and didn't take the book. Jack learned not to question their "No." Respect it and leave.
One person started saying a lot of negative stuff and Jack said, "It's okay. I like you. I have to be on my way now, good bye." It's very draining to get into long debates and they aren't fruitful.
Another person said, "This is free? I've never been given anything free in my life." Jack said, "Ding ding ding! You're a winner!!!!! You get a free book!!!" Jack enjoyed laughing with people and making the experience fun and light-hearted when he could.
Quite a few people said they really liked the title of the book;
Several people asked if the person pictured on the cover was Jack. This was perplexing since there is little resemblance between Jack and True Father. We talked about this and felt it was an indication that we represent God and True Father when we go out, and the people sense something. When you connect to the divine, people feel it!
A Muslim family asked if this was Muslim. Jack said, "Rev. Moon is trying to harmonize religions through interfaith work." They really liked this answer and asked for three copies;
A Jehova's Witness lady said tentatively, "I already belong to a church and don't really have time to read a book." Jack doesn't believe in trying to change people's minds, but he felt this was more a case of indecision, so he said, "It's okay to just hold onto it for a while and decide later if you'd like to read it. You might want to look at it a year from now." She took it and complimented Jack for being so sincere;
Another JW said, "I'm Jehova's Witness." Jack said with excitement, "Wonderful. Here's your free book." She took it;
A young man with rather gothic-style clothing and two lip piercings answered the door. Jack did not react to his appearance. He said his line as usual, and the young man was extremely courteous and very interested in receiving the book. He seemed genuinely impressed that Jack was not treating him strangely because of his attire. At the conclusion of their conversation, the young man shook Jack's hand and said, "God bless you!";
Jack met one man who had met our church 30 years ago along with a friend of his. The friend joined and this man did not. He lost touch with his friend and happy to receive a book so that he could learn more about the fork in the road he had not taken;
The last 12 books were difficult to give out. After a few rejections, a very nice middle-eastern lady answered the door and took a book. About ten minutes later, her husband came to find Jack. He said, "I am from Pakistan, but I am Christian and the pastor of a church." He asked for five more books. He gave Jack his business card and, pointing to his name, explained again, "I am a Christian! See? My name is Masih which means "messiah"!
It's better to hold at least four copies of the book, rather than hold one book to give one person. Sometimes relatives or visiting friends were in the house who also wanted a copy;
Serve as you go. One lady at an apartment complex had her garbage on the porch, ready to take to the apartment's dumpster near the parking lot. Jack said, "Could I take your garbage away for you as I leave?" She said yes and commented how nice that was. She took a book. He carried groceries for another lady from her car to her door;
Jack saw a statue of St. Francis of Assisi posed to look at a flower pot, but the plant was dead. Suddenly he felt St. Francis with him, lamenting over the creation which has been neglected and is groaning in travail. At another house, he saw an elephant made of bamboo, and immediately felt Buddha's spirit and how much Buddha would have liked that. Jack felt the presence of saints with him as he went from door to door. We don't walk alone, but have much spiritual help.
Just begin by doing whatever you can manage. Spirit world brings the resources to you and also the encouragement;
Don't have concepts. Treat everyone with respect. Quality people live everywhere;
Don't get involved in long conversations or theological battle. It wastes precious energy. Stay focused on your objective–to get the book out to as many people as possible;
It's not as hard as you think. A conservative estimate is that you can give away 10 books in a little more than an hour going house to house, so if you go out once a week, you'll be done in 43 weeks. If you go out every week day, you'll be done in about 8 weeks. If you go to apartment houses, it will be done in a third of that time;
You will receive more than you give;
When you connect to the divine, people feel it... and so will you!
We are truly grateful to God, True Parents, our family, and our friends in spirit world!
The Young Family
Jack, Jeannie, Joe, Jaime and Ganesh Tamrakar