Exploring Unification Theology Edited by M. Darrol Bryant and Susan Hodges
Critical analyses of the Unification Church from historical or social scientific perspectives are, as yet, limited. To develop the necessary data for such analyses "field studies," alongside other methodologies, are imperative. This essay is a preliminary report of one such study which took the form of a series of conversations with a community of Unification devotees at their seminary in Barrytown, New York.
Two impressions of the Unification phenomenon prove dominant and premise all successive observations. For one, the Unification devotees or "Moonies," as they willingly refer to themselves, present an aura of quiet confidence in the Tightness and ultimate triumph of their cause, which impresses one as an unusual "healthy-mindedness." Secondly, the confluence of many typically American motifs in this new religion should result in great interest in Unification among students of American religion; while its nuanced understanding of classic religious questions, solutions to these problems, and its evolutionary hermeneutic (read also, still not fully formulated!) should fascinate all students of religion.
The dangerously slippery category of "healthy-mindedness" is used here, following William James' direction, to characterize a battery of items both psychological and theological. Note for example that over half of the faculty teaching at the Unification Seminary are non-Moonies -- they are Jewish, Presbyterian, Orthodox, etc.; that a number of Unification scholars will be pursuing Ph.D. work in Religion at major American and foreign universities; that open-ended, critical dialogue such as was experienced in our seminar is not threatening although evidently chastening to the believers; that doctrinal variation (fundamentalist or modernist?) openly coexist without seemingly undermining the community's cohesion; that insiders share their autobiographies with each other and with (selected) outsiders with appropriate modesty but without fear of being hurt; that despite the sinfulness of illicit or premature sexual activity, men and women devotees mingle freely and comfortably, and that our group at least found Moonies engaging and delightful associates.
Such a mood of openness is especially interesting since youthful movements with young converts are typically defensive, separatist, and insecure, most notably with reference to the educational institutions of the dominant culture. Possibly, less obvious defense mechanisms serve to shield the converts from the relativizing influences of the "outside" world. The highly disciplined and centrally controlled community known as "The Family" in which all American Moonies live may well provide a mechanism sufficient to allow considerable intellectual freedom. Furthermore, since the prophet and potential Messiah, Rev. Moon, is still alive, a charismatic focus of faith still prevails, rather than a more rigid, institutionalized authority.
Unification theology undoubtedly contributes to this mood of quiet confidence. According to James, "healthy-mindedness is a tendency which looks on all things and sees that they are good,"* and Unification thought supplies the needed theology for such ends. Sin is real, but can readily be vanquished by good. Optimism prevails regarding the human potential not only for good, but for God-like perfection. The Kingdom will come on earth imminently, first in Korea, then likely in America, and as communism is defeated, to the ends of the earth. Edenic man, the center of the Unification theology, will be restored just as soon as perfect parents populate the world with perfect offspring. American millenarianism in a Social Gospel idiom lives in Unification thought. Such an optimistic world view, in James' "liberal" perspective, yields healthy-minded religious folk -- and the Moonies qualify.
Further suggestions as to the unique versus typical characteristics of Unification vis-à-vis more general American religious patterns may be noted as Unification is characterized as being primarily a movement, but is also evidencing signs of a sect.
Sectarian elements, given the definitions offered by Ernst Troeltsch and Bryan Wilson, can definitely be located in Unification. Induction into the group, for example, assumes a conversion to the truth of the Divine Principle. The nature of this conversion, as in traditional Christianity, may vary in emotional intensity and intellectual rigor, but it does separate the faithful theologically. Sociologically, separation follows as the new devotees move into a communal life-style. Personal wealth and personal decision-making are shared in a semi-Hutterian fashion. Jobs and education (ordinarily) are abandoned to devote full time to the propagation of the faith and the cultivation of personal perfection. Modesty in apparel and appearance further may distinguish the true believers from the rest of society.
Other theological factors may also be considered to be sectarian in that they represent a "protest" or at least a deviation from dominant religious perspectives. Authority in Unification is attributed to Rev. Moon, who has articulated his message and mission in a theological interpretation of the Christian Scriptures known as the Divine Principle. Moon is perceived as the Third Adam, the Messiah for the final days, although his ultimate role in God's providence depends somewhat on his fulfillment of his potentialities. Moon is the center of the new religion; he operates in a theocratic fashion, and serves as a cult figure. He is the object of great adoration, if not always of actual worship.
The salvation offered by Unification comes via the completion to perfection of the family. Parents loving each other and God perfectly will, in turn, produce perfect children -- and the Kingdom will be in progress. Although a new appreciation for the sanctity and pre-eminence of the family may not be anti-American, the highlighting of this institution to play a salvific role surely is a protest against the current state of the family in America and abroad.
The nation stands alongside the family as a primary institution in God's providence. Democracy is godly, and democratic nations are on God's side. Totalitarian nations because they are materialistic and anti-religious must be vanquished, preferably by the spirit but if necessary also by the sword, before the Kingdom can come. Human history can be understood and predicted through a typological understanding of Biblical symbols and chronology. On the basis of such evidence the evolution of mankind is indeed progressing onward and upward. Biblical dating and the "signs of the times" point to Rev. Moon as the returned Messiah, and indicate impending Utopia, not apocalyptic chaos. Yet, resignation is not legitimate; rather God-fearing families and nations must actively assist in channeling history to its inevitable goal. Hence, financial and political power are important for the movement to assure the right direction of history.
Characteristics such as these may convince scholars such as Bryan Wilson that Unification is a "revolutionist" sect. But the category of "sect" does not do justice to all the above data, and cannot contain some other aspects of Unification. It may be helpful to see some other aspects of Unification. It may also be helpful to see Unification as another form of The Kingdom of God in America motif or movement as described by H. Richard Niebuhr.
Sectarianism, typically, is defined as appealing to the dispossessed. Although Unification membership is youthful, with an average age in the mid-twenties, no ready pattern can be ascertained to characterize the devotees. Educational, social, or financial deprivation would be true of some but not of a majority of Moonies. If Unification devotees are to be typified, other than dispossession or deprivation categories will almost assuredly need to be used.
In Troeltsch's classical categories at least, sectarianism assumes the formation of an alternative community of faith which is the new vehicle of redemption. Unification proposes no new institutions, no new church. Present Unification structures are only of interim, pragmatic value but have no long term role. Salvation comes through existing organizations -- namely, the family and the nation. Religious denominations also play their legitimate functions and Moonies participate in the ministrations of various Christian and non-Christian groups. But these varied religious groups serve to strengthen the individual, the family and the nation; they are not organisms in their own right which in God's providence may contradict and supersede the nation, or even the family. Unification thus is less an institutional entity than a dynamic directing existing institutions to their rightful task.
Salvation, thus, in Unification thought does not necessarily require becoming a member of the organization. Indeed, redemption, which is almost invariably the central doctrine of sectarianism, is secondary to creation, a doctrine typically more characteristic of a corpus Christianum or "churchly" perspective. Unification propounds a cosmology which affirms a great variety of created orders -- political, economic, scientific, artistic, etc. -- and does not eschew these as part of an evil world. Redemption is simply a matter of directing all of creation to its rightful destiny. Accordingly, when one correctly understands the purposes of creation and willfully acts accordingly, he is saved -- in or out of Unification -- although one who has eyes to see surely will join the movement.
Unification thus may be seen as keying into several movements in American religion as much as being a new sect. Rather than being separatist, in its inclusivism Unification shares in various ecumenical or possibly civil religion movements in America. By working through existing institutions it is another of many renewal movements. In its relating of sin to sexuality, in its perfectionism, and its communalism, it finds much in common with American Utopian movements. In its reading of history to argue that America has a unique role in God's providential purposes, it finds much in common with American millennial and Kingdom of God themes.
Despite its being as much movement oriented as sectarian, the inexorable tendency will be for Unification to become just another denomination. Institutions once developed create their own rationale for permanence. The pragmatic function of Unification institutions surely will give way to typical denominational organization. This judgment is not necessarily predicated on the predictive inaccuracy of Unification regarding the imminent Kingdom, but rather on the refusal of other religious groups to accept this new revelation, which in turn will inevitably force Unification into being a separate group to nurture its faith despite rejection.
The recurrent perfectionist theme in the above paragraphs deserves a separate word regarding its sociological implications. It will be remembered that the Kingdom comes through perfected parents producing perfected offspring.
Rev. and Mrs. Moon's children apparently are to be the first fruits in the perfected order. If these children are necessarily more perfect or of a different order than the children of other perfected Unification parents is unclear. At any rate, the test of the truth of Unification or at least its potential for truth is in the very offspring now being born. Here is a category of verification not unlike the return of the Lord in 1843.
What happens if these children follow the way of all children heretofore? Will Unification need to readjust its requirements for perfection even as dates have been postponed in apocalyptic cults? Such questions are most interesting, and others follow. For example, the Unification notion of the origin of sin is more genetic than environmental. What are the indicators of a genetically perfect child? Does perfect agape mean sinlessness?
The sociology of marriage which assists this perfectionism is likewise interesting. Marriages, for one, are arranged, thus running counter to the tradition of romantic love of modern Western marriages. Furthermore, marriages are not consummated until the couple reaches sufficient perfection. During this pre-consummation period couples typically live apart until the movement determines they are prepared to have the perfect children.
Rev. Moon is central to this entire perfectionism. He has fathered the first fruits of the millennium, he chooses marriage mates, he marries and blesses the couples. The questions then follow: Is Rev. Moon's history and life-style critical for the movement? What might studies in the "life of Moon" do for or against the movement? What happens when Rev. Moon dies? Is there a process of succession? Or in other words, what happens when the charisma is routinized?
Because the anticipated perfection is still to come, obviously more questions remain than are answered, probably not only for the outsider but for the insider alike. These questions and observations, however, are some of the data which need to be considered in historical and social scientific analyses of the Unification Church.
A brief visit to the Unification Church in Berkeley, California indicates that significant variations exist between the eastern and western wings of the American Unification body. Since the above paragraphs are based exclusively on studies of the "Moonies" at the Barrytown seminary in New York, qualifications would be necessary on some matters to have this analysis apply equally to the Unification Church in all geographical regions of America and the world.
Lloyd Eby: I think it's true that the kind of optimism that you're referring to is part of Unificationism. But maybe you have overemphasized it. There's definitely the view that the Kingdom is coming, but I think we would be naive if we think it's going to be tomorrow or this afternoon or this evening. The time period is open to question. I remember Rev. Moon saying that there comes a time when winter is past and spring is here, but precisely when that time is, you don't know.
Dr. Sawatsky: In something I read, someone raised with Dr. Kim the question of what would happen if Moon died. She said that Jesus didn't have a physical resurrection, but a spiritual resurrection, and implied that maybe Rev. Moon would rise again spiritually. Are you saying that the timeframe may not come within the lifetime of Rev. Moon, but somehow or other he might still have some kind of spiritual effect on people after he dies?
Lloyd Eby: Whether the Kingdom comes or not, I think he would have a spiritual effect on people after he dies.
Dr. Sawatsky: But you don't see the precipitation of the Kingdom as necessarily prior to his death?
Lloyd Eby: Yes, I would say that prior to his death certain things have to be accomplished. And once those things are accomplished, then the momentum will be overwhelming.
Dr. Sawatsky: What specific things?
Lloyd Eby: I think the important thing is that a number of families have to be established. I think probably that's the most important. Also, you say in your paper that "The Kingdom will come on earth imminently, first in South Korea, then in America, and as communism is defeated, to the ends of the earth." I think it remains to be seen where the Kingdom will first be set up substantially. It will probably be in South Korea, but I don't think that it necessarily has to be there.
Farley Jones: As long as we're on that topic, I have a question. It seems to me that the implication of the Divine Principle is that the Kingdom wouldn't come just in South Korea, but that it would be in Korea through the unification of South and North. Unification is central to the whole task of establishing the Kingdom. The second point is that I don't think that America is necessarily the second place where the Kingdom's going to come. I don't see a necessary sequence. I don't think it's clear to any of us at this point what the whole sequence is going to be or how it's supposed to happen. The third point concerns phraseology. Why say that the Kingdom will come? That way of saying it removes it from man's responsibility. Rev. Moon emphasizes that we have to build the Kingdom with our own hands. I think if we use language like "the Kingdom will come," it brings forth images of something floating down from the sky. That's not how we see it at all.
Lloyd Eby: You also say that ' 'Authority in Unification is attributed to the Bible plus a theological interpretation of the Christian Scriptures known as the Divine Principle...." That's true, but there's something about that that makes me uneasy. I think we would say that the primary source of authority is the man who occupies the position of Messiah, and that, as Jesus made clear, it was the Scriptures that testified to Him, not his testifying to the Scriptures. In other words, Jesus made clear that He was the authority, and that it was through Him that the Scriptures could be interpreted. So primary authority would rest with the man, not the writings, although that is not to deny authority to writings.
Dr. Sawatsky: This talk about authority is helpful. I've been sensing today that authority is much more the man than the written documents. That, I think, has become more obvious than it was to me the last time we were here. This makes the question of what happens when the man is no longer with us more acute.
Lloyd Eby: Something else has to be said about that. There's a sense in which one can say that Rev. Moon has authority because he is the embodiment of the divine principle. In other words, the divine principle itself is something different from what's written in the Black Book. It's the Principle through which God has operated in nature and time.
Dr. Sawatsky: Just as conventional Christians could talk about the Word and the word? Lloyd Eby: Right. The Black Book says something to the effect that it is an expression of the truth, not the truth itself.
Dr. Clark: Are you going to answer the other part of the question? What happens when the living Word passes from the scene? Do we then have to depend upon the written word?
Lloyd Eby: My understanding of what happens when the living Word passes from the scene is that, in fact, the living Word does not pass from the scene. It passes from the scene only physically.
Dr. Clark: But remains as the spirit?
Lloyd Eby: Yes. Just as at the time of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus had some kind of spiritual connection with Him.
Dr. Bryant: Is that right? I thought that the point of Unification was the completion of the spiritual restoration by physical restoration, so that when Rev. Moon passes there will be some families around through whom the Word is not only spiritually present, but continues to exist in some restored physical sense.
Lloyd Eby: I don't see those understandings as incompatible. I see them both as true. Rev. Moon's now about fifty-five, so how long can he live? Maybe twenty or thirty more years. Now, who knows how much will be accomplished within his lifetime? Clearly, many more things concerning the restoration of the world to God's Kingdom remain to be accomplished. I doubt that any other people now alive will have developed to the point where they have the ability to take over Rev. Moon's task.
Linda Mitchell: I would tend to disagree with that because in terms of the whole concept of sinless children, mankind will be able to develop a relationship with God and establish the Kingdom of Heaven. If what I'm saying is true, then Rev. Moon's children will inherit Rev. Moon's position and task. They are the beginning of that new tradition, as I see it. And they, as well as other families and other perfected children, are the continuation of that tradition.
Dr. Kuykendall: As you all see the eventuality and possibility, what would the relationship then be between the written words and the word as manifest in that generation of leadership? Will there be a shifting of relative authorities between the Divine Principle and a second generation of perfected leadership?
Joe Stein: It doesn't seem that there would be a great distinction between the word left behind and the word to be spoken. In other words, the developmental quality of our belief system is such that any new direction or new guides would grow out of the foundation of the past. So it doesn't seem to me that our future will be so different from what is already established.
Klaus Lindner: Rev. Moon doesn't add anything new on creation or fall or redemption or all those things. That's already laid down and hasn't changed since the book was written three years ago. He speaks about practical questions like what we're going to do this year, and about starting a Seminary and things like that.
Dr. Clark: One thing the Unification people have going for them that the early Christians didn't is that the question of whether or not the Kingdom comes in your theology depends on what you all do, whereas the early Christians were waiting for God to act to bring this Kingdom. And when it didn't occur, there was not only the problem of the delay of the parousia but the failure of the parousia. And what were the early Christians then to do with the God or the Messiah who did not bring what it was they thought He was supposed to bring? You can end up saying that you were to blame for the Kingdom's not coming because you didn't devote your whole hearts and minds and energies to this. I don't know if that would be better or worse. In any case, it will help in the preservation of the faith because you will feel more responsible for what happens.
Dr. Wilson: I'd like to shift the discussion. I can see some scientist saying, well, if the Unification perfect family is supposed to have perfect parents and perfect children, we will put on all the pressure we can to make sure that we find out whether the children are perfect or not. And if they aren't, then it would destroy the theory.
Dr. Richardson: Listen, I'm an imperfect parent, and I'd be willing to offer my own children up as a test of my imperfections. (laughter) I want to say that I don't think it's such a stupid notion. Just think about it on another level. A culture offers up its children as the mark of its integrity. You can speak of children rebelling and things like that, but it's not a problem if they go through a difficult three or four years in adolescence. Perfection is in the long run, and it seems to me that this is exactly what cultures offer. What you're trying to create here is a cradle for a new generation. All the patterns of child rearing and culture formation are finally vindicated in the crucible of the future generation, and if you don't bring forth a new generation that has new virtues, then your movement dies. One could talk about all the movements that died and became mere doctrine without any power whatsoever to affect a future generation. I think that your Unification vision is a very exciting vision.
Jonathan Wells: I'd like to second that and emphasize the element of practice and experimentation that comes in here. For example, it's not the case that Rev. Moon is a sharp fellow who has somehow convinced us that the principles are true, and we swallowed them intellectually and go along with him no matter what he does. It is the case that he has convinced us from our actual contact with him that he's working harder than any of us to be God's champion. In the course of that he has convinced us of the Principle. If leadership of the Church is transferred to his oldest son upon his death, and if his oldest son were to turn out somehow to be an ineffectual leader, then the Movement would die and the Principle would be proven false. On the other hand, if he turns out to be more energetic than we are, and a true champion of God, then the Principle is vindicated.
Dr. Bryant: Are you going to stick to the oldest son?
Jonathan Wells: Well, I don't know how it's going to happen. That's one possible scenario. But whoever takes the position is going to be able to hold the position only if that individual is the most energetic. This is the tradition that Rev. Moon has set up, and it's true of any leader in the Church.
Guido Lombardi: Rev. Moon himself has many times expressed a deep concern about the future and the element of chance in the coming of the Kingdom. He has spoken many times about tradition, and the importance of tradition, and his concern for the feeling that we have for tradition.
Farley Jones: I, too, would see that a logical succession would be down through the sons. I liked what Jonathan had to say too, but I might add that it very much depends on what those sons do. Just because they're born without sin doesn't mean they're perfect. They have to go through a period of proving themselves just as our original ancestors did.
Dr. Bryant: Let's go through this very slowly now. They are born without sin, yet they are not perfect. Right?
Farley Jones: Sinless children are born as the first ancestors were born, like a new family lineage that is born again. Children are being born without the spiritual death that our original ancestors incurred. But there's also that trial period. Every child, including Rev. Moon's children, has to go through a trial period where perfection depends very much on what they do. I think the fruit of Rev. Moon's work is very much to be seen in his family, although there are more immediate indicators than that. But the true indicator, the ultimate indicator of whether these things are working out properly, is if the truth or love of God can be incarnated and practiced: if these children can go through their period of testing, such as Adam and Eve did, and can reach the point where they can be totally trusted by God. Every family will eventually come to the point where there is no need of a mediator because there's a direct relationship with God. Every man will raise his family and grow up to the point where he, too, stands in the position of the Third Adam.
Dr. Bryant: Let me raise a question. Rod speaks of the family as a "highly disciplined and autocratically controlled community." I don't see that that's particularly bothersome to people. I would like to have some comments from people about how authority works within the family. I've been impressed with the initiative that comes from you people around various projects. The term "authoritarian" has certain negative connotations for me. But here it seems that authority is highly spiritualized. I'm just wondering if there should be any kind of qualification of those kinds of phrases. How does authority function in the community?
Dr. Sawatsky: Maybe we should specify a little bit. Who places whom in authority positions? I was asking Lloyd about who decides how this facility is going to be used; if buildings are going to be rebuilt, how are they going to be used? Who decides all the questions that any human community must deal with?
Farley Jones: These questions are decided by Rev. Moon. Questions about where to spend the money, and major undertakings like the rallies at Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument are all not only decided but often initiated by him.
Dr. Sawatsky: Who's going to be sent to the Chicago Center? Who decides that?
Farley Jones: Well, I think recommendations are made to Rev. Moon by people who know the personnel, and then he appoints someone.
Linda Mitchell: There's also a tremendous amount of initiation on our part. I think each one of us, because of the interest that we have, becomes involved, especially at the Seminary where we're in the kind of atmosphere that inspires creativity and new ideas. We get inspired by the thought of different kinds of projects and different things we want to see happen within the Church. We develop programs and present ideas which are, in many cases, adopted.
Lloyd Eby: I think that to answer this question you have to go back and pick up the notion of give-and-take, and the notion of family. We speak of ourselves as "The Family," and we think of ourselves, at least in a way, as Rev. Moon's children. And surely, it's the case in every family that when the children are young, their parents make almost all decisions for them. As they get older, the children make more and more decisions for themselves, and there comes a time when the parents are at the mercy of the children, more or less. I think, for example, of the Biblical account of Jacob sending his sons to Egypt during the famine. They came back and said that something had to be done and Jacob said he didn't agree, and they told him it had to be done anyway, regardless of his wishes. I think the same kind of dynamic is working here. The movement is young. As it ages, as more and more people come in to the position where they become, as it were, "Rev. Moon's older children," he trusts them more and more and gives them more responsibility. He looks to them for inspiration, just as a parent looks to his children for inspiration.
Joe Stein: Another aspect is the fact that a tradition is being established at the same time. As the movement is growing it's developing a tradition of man's true individual relationship to God. Many people have the capacity to develop their concept of that tradition as it applies to the areas that they're most interested in, whether it be cultural or musical, or social or whatever. They can bring to Rev. Moon different ideas about what should be done.
Jonathan Wells: I'd like to say something actually agreeing with your statement here, Rod, but also in line with what Lloyd was saying about the general structure of the Church. And that is that for a new member, Unification usually, although not invariably, seems to be a very highly disciplined and autocratic organization. And quite commonly many of our Centers that are geared to receiving new members and training them spiritually are very highly disciplined. They have to be, as with any religious order. The training regime is quite carefully controlled and highly structured, although there's a lot of variation between Centers.
Farley Jones: I don't think Rod's is an unfair description.
Lloyd Eby: I react against it in a way, and yet I think it's a fair description. It's potentially misleading because, just as for many women the term "object" is very loaded, for many people the terms "authority" and "discipline" are very loaded kinds of concepts.
Dr. Sawatsky: I think what you're trying to say is that something ought to be said by way of suggesting that this is not to imply that the devotees are passive.
Lloyd Eby: Right. Also, in the times that I've heard Rev. Moon speak in the past year, I've noticed that he's talking much more about individuality and variations between people. My experience was that earlier he didn't stress that part and now he's stressing it a great deal. He's pointing out that each person is, in fact, an individual expression of God's nature. When he was here on Thursday he used this example. He said suppose one hundred of us here each eat a ham sandwich. What would our experience be? He pointed out that the experience of eating a ham sandwich would be different for each. The taste to me is not the same as the taste to you. I think he is pointing out that we can have an organization which has an essentially hierarchic form of discipline, but nevertheless, there is room for as much difference as there are different people. And that would imply as many different kinds of development.
Dr. Richardson: Could I take up something Lloyd just said that strikes me as a characteristic of the authority structure of the group, and that concerns the word "hierarchical?" I think the word "autocratic" is very tendentious and improper. I think the authority structure is something like this. In Western society, with its individualism, if you have a group, what you have is a bunch of individuals. And then if you have authority, you have one person over them. So one person is a boss over a lot of people and there are no mediators between the boss and the people. But in a feudal system or family system, the structure is hierarchical. Older brothers and sisters protect younger brothers and sisters from the parents. You have a feudal line of authority too. Everybody here in this room has spiritual children, and there's a sense in which those spiritual children are under your influence and authority even as you are under influence and authority. So there's practically nobody in this organization who isn't in authority, while also being under authority. This is one of the things that differentiates a hierarchical organization from, let's say, a democratic kind of authoritarian organization where either you're in authority or you're under authority. People tend not to experience organizations like this one as authoritarian because everybody experiences the person who is in authority over them as also under authority. Everybody is playing a double role.
Dr. Sawatsky: I wonder if that's so. Hierarchy is like a bureaucracy, and in a bureaucracy you report to the man above you, but you don't necessarily move all the way up. It seems to me that everybody here is directly connected to the man up top. Rev. Moon is over Toronto, Hong Kong, and every place, right down to localities here. This is not to say that there isn't another mediating structure as well, but I don't think we have here a thoroughly hierarchical structure.
Dr. Richardson: You're presupposing that hierarchic structures are bureaucratic, and I don't think they are. The ordinary kind of hierarchical structure is a family, and in a family everybody is older brother, middle brother, middle sister, and everybody knows where they belong hierarchically. The hierarchical structure in this kind of organic network of relationships seems to be different from a bureaucracy for a number of reasons. You say Rev. Moon is over Toronto, Hong Kong and New York, and I don't think that's right.
Dr. Sawatsky: Okay, let's find out if that's right;
Klaus Lindner: In the European Church, many members have never even seen Rev. Moon. And in other countries they may never have seen him, and never have had a chance to talk to him. At the Seminary we are very close to where Rev. Moon lives. That's why we have a chance to talk to him and to see him. Yet the majority of the membership either has never seen him or has seen him once or twice as he spoke to a few thousand people. In the German Church, the leader of the German Church was a kind of a father figure for us, mediating Rev. Moon's presence.
Lloyd Eby: Something else needs to be said here, and that is that for most Americans the experience of authority has not been an especially good one. So the term authority has pejorative connotations. When Rev. Moon speaks about leadership, he speaks the same way as Jesus when Jesus said that whoever wants to be a leader is one who has to be the servant of all. In other words, that person is qualified to lead who shows excellence in empathy, in love, and in service.
Dr. Wilson: How do you know if somebody's loving more or serving more than others?
Jonathan Wells: It shows. If you're living with somebody day after day, you can tell who's working the hardest for the sake of everybody else.
Dr. Wilson: We need to ask what is the content of that service? I'm not sure that I can really find out what the content of service in the Unification Church is from the outside. Maybe selling more candy or whatever, but I don't know if I would necessarily conclude that that is an important service. What do you conceive of as criteria or standards for service?
Jonathan Wells: I think the standard that all of us look up to is the standard of Rev. Moon when he was in prison. There are many other instances, but this happens to be a particularly good story. And we don't just have this from Rev. Moon, but from other prisoners, too. When he was in prison under the Communists in North Korea, he couldn't teach verbally because he would have been executed. So he couldn't be a spiritual leader in that sense. What he did was, first of all, always take the most difficult job. He would work the longest hours, and would help the other prisoners. He divided his portion of food in half, and since the portion was only a fist-sized bowl of rice, that was quite a sacrifice. He'd give half of that to another prisoner. Half of them were starving anyway. And when his followers would bring him clothing and food from outside the camp, he invariably gave it away. It infuriated his followers, because they'd come back and see clothes they had brought him on some other prisoner's back. But in this way, he managed to attract a following in the camp. He became a very popular figure just by serving in this manner. That is a standard that he set for all of us.
The Unification ideal is that the individual should not live for himself, but live for his family, and the family for the Church, and the Church for the world. All the emphasis is on going beyond yourself.
* Wm. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York, New York- Collier Books, 1961), p. 85.