Articles From the October 1994 Unification News


What's A Nice Jewish Girl Doing In A Place Like This??

by Edy Iverson

When I was nine years old, I would watch the news and weep. It was during Vietnam. It was so painful...too painful. I remember distinctly asking my father, "Why??? Why are we fighting???" I was so agonized. Something inside me told me war was so wrong, yet what could I do about it at the ripe old age of nine?

My father said, "There is nothing you can do about it; you'll never change the whole world, so don't even try." Somehow I never believed him. Something in my heart said we can change the world or at least we can try. And I did try, every way I knew how.

When I was a teen, I wanted to work with autistic children. I felt that type of work had meaning. I could reach people who were cut off from the world and do something meaningful with my life. By the time I was 18, my interests changed from psychology to law.

If I were a lawyer, I could change the unfair laws, fight for the rights of the weak and poor, and change the world through politics. I was living in San Francisco at the time, where I marched, organized and activized till I was blue in the face...all the while having the best intentions to save America and the world. Yet, the world situation only seemed to get worse.

In the process of "fighting the good fight," I became very hardened, tough and callous. I became insensitive to those suffering around me, as I focused to accomplish my "great goal" to help mankind.

Many of my friends were "into" religion of every type-Eastern, Western, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. Yet I couldn't believe what they believed. I saw too much hypocrisy in religious groups. Also, I felt religion was a crutch for weak people. My biggest barrier towards religion was that I couldn't understand why God would allow people to suffer so deeply (like the Jews during the Holocaust). Also, I felt if these people were truly religious, why do they leave everything to God and not take responsibility for the problems of the world? No one could explain that to me.

On a lark, I went to visit my identical twin sister Betsy, who had been living in Hawaii for the past three years. I was amazed at the kind of person she had become, spiritually. She walked around Hawaii in a sarong like Dorothy Lamour, but her heart had become so beautiful. I remember looking at her and then reflecting on what I had become. She had become so spiritually beautiful and I had become so hard and selfish. She never said a word to me; all she did was serve me unconditionally...but seeing her moved my hardened heart.

Hawaii was truly a spiritual experience. Something changed in my heart. I began to see and experience people from a completely different viewpoint. Many people call this a conversion experience. Somehow, God opened my heart to see where I was really at and after that I would never be the same. It is almost impossible to explain. It is like an experience you have after it rains. Everything appears so fresh and new and pure. That is the only way I can explain it.

When I returned to my beautiful Victorian flat in San Francisco, I was a different person. I realized that I could never change the world without changing myself first. That in order to have a loving, ideal world, I must become a loving, ideal person. I realized that the kingdom of heaven is not outside of us, but rather it is inside of me. That changing the laws will not change America, but changing myself will. And that truly was my beginning.

Within a couple of weeks, my sister came to San Francisco to stay with me. One day while walking down the street she met a teacher named Erin Bouma who invited us to a program at the Unification Church. My sister asked if I would go with her, which I did.

During the program, there was singing and wonderful music. The people were warm, friendly and totally unpretentious. The majority of them were professional, quite educated, yet unusually kind. The speaker was Dr. Mose Durst, then a professor at Laney College in Oakland (and today Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Unification Church in America).

He was charming, brilliant and eloquent. He talked about all the ideals I had been working towards my whole life. I was shocked that someone so brilliant could be so loving and warm. My experience with most intellectuals was that they tended to be somewhat narrow and cold...yet he was so different. I also met many other wonderful people, who were also very intelligent, yet quite warm and kind. I was impressed.

Dr. Durst asked us to come participate in a weekend seminar in "Booneville". Because Betsy was working, the next weekend I went up by myself and heard Rev. Moon's teachings, "The Divine Principle." Though I still didn't believe in God, when I heard the history lecture I was astonished. I had studied many religious texts, philosophy books, psychology books, etc., yet nothing could explain history and the suffering of mankind like the Divine Principle, not even the Bible. To this day, nothing surpasses the Divine Principle when it comes to explaining the questions of the Bible and life in general.

Though I wouldn't have considered myself a joiner, and tended to be rather independent and willful, I was thoroughly impressed with the teachings of Rev. Moon. But even more than that, I was impressed by the goodness and genuine caring of the Unification Church members.

In the past, I had worked with everyone from lawyers and doctors to feminists and communists, Christians, Jews, etc., yet somehow everyone lacked the type of heart that these extraordinary people seemed to possess. Also, I found people from every race, religion and political background living harmoniously as a family. This was astounding to me.

Morally, I was amazed that men and women could live together as brothers and sisters, with love and respect, abstaining from sex until marriage. It was so liberating to me during a time in history when promiscuous sex was commonplace.

I had to find out what really made these unique people tick.

When I returned from my experience in Booneville, a number of good friends tried to talk me out of returning there. Their words meant nothing to me, because I saw for myself what the church members were really like and what they really believed. The proof of the pudding was in the eating, to me, or as Jesus put it, "You shall know them by their fruits."

I feel I was probably the most skeptical, analytical member ever to join the Unification community, asking hundreds of questions about Rev. Moon and the church. I had to know everything. I could not be wishy-washy. I decided at the time that I would find out more and see if "creating an ideal world" was worth working for. That was in September 1976.

20 years on

Here I am, almost twenty years later. The ideal world is still yet to come. But I realize now that it begins with each of us. The world will change when we change. The world will become more loving when we learn to love. The world will become a place of peace when we become peaceful. We must start from the inside out, not the other way around.

Jesus was only one man, but his love changed the world. Gandhi was only one man, but his love changed a nation. Martin Luther King was only one man, but he liberated history and an entire race through love. Rev. Moon and his wife and their thirteen children are just one family; but a family centered on True Love is powerful. True Love is the most powerful force on earth and in heaven. Nothing in the cosmos can stop it.

For years now people have been trying to stop Rev. Moon. The government, bigoted narrow-minded religious leaders, communists, atheists-yet "love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things; love never ends."

Jesus was crucified, yet every day through his teachings people give up their bad habits and miserable lives and learn to love. You can kill a person, but you cannot kill love. You can try to bury it, distort it, profane it and deny it, but True Love will always resurface time and time again.

It is the hope upon hope of every living human being to find true love, whether expressed or unexpressed. People search their whole lives for it. They go to beautiful places in Tibet to meditate or marry five spouses trying to find it.

But it is not something outside of us-it exists within us. We must end our search for love outside ourselves and begin the journey within. As Dorothy learned after following the yellow brick road, there is no place like home. We all have the potential to become True Lovers, but it is not easy.

It takes tremendous patience, endurance, intense self-reflection, meditation or prayer, and most of all: action. Becoming a person of True Love means to love when it hurts to love, when you get nothing in return, when a person is not worthy of love. It's easy to love a loving person. The hard part is loving a selfish, mean and nasty person. However, that is where you grow.

Recently, Rev. Moon went to North Korea, his homeland, where he had been imprisoned by the communists forty years ago. When he met with Pres. Kim Il Sung, one of the most feared and hated leaders of our time, he physically embraced him and told him about true love. Rev. Moon and Mrs. Moon visited with Pres. Gorbachev and embraced him with true love. When Rev. Moon was unjustly imprisoned for two years in Danbury, the prisoners at first teased, made fun of and persecuted him. When he left, however, finally, the prisoners wept. Never before had they met a truly "religious" man. He digested their taunts with love and served them more than his own children. The most hardened criminals cried when he left.

True love cannot be denied, stopped, squashed or incarcerated.

Recently I had dinner with a very prominent Jewish doctor from New York, who at one time treated patients on Fifth Avenue. Now semi- retired, he treats minority patients in a methadone clinic in Brooklyn. He couldn't believe that I was still "such an idealist."

I admired him for his wonderful, caring heart, but even he said, "It's already too late for them; they are ruined." Still, he continues to give because something inside of him believes that in some way he can bring goodness to this society. Even the most cynical of us all, somewhere buried deep inside, wants to believe in an ideal world, true love and the Kingdom of God on earth...yet how many are willing to build it? Those who try only get persecution-so, why bother?

Because: so long as the heart can hope, as the long as the vision can be seen, as long as God still believes, we must believe. Every dreamer, visionary and prophet throughout history has suffered and been laughed at, and Rev. Moon is certainly no exception. The only difference is that there are those who never give up. Their vision sooner or later becomes reality...and indeed, so will Rev. Moon's. It is just a matter of time...and love...because I am quite sure Rev. Moon is one man who never shall give up!


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