Explorations in Unificationism edited by Theodore T. Shimmyo and David A. Carlson
I do not want to deal with the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's eschatological program per se, but rather with the question: given the fact that he has an eschatological program or is at least making eschatological claims, how is it possible for his church to survive in the world and continue to make the claims it does? Millennial movements making claims similar to the Reverend Moon's tend either to be suppressed or to compromise and/or spiritualize their ideals. One could summon evidence supporting any of these possibilities as likely for the Unification Church or, for the sake of simplicity, Unification Movement (UM), but in fact the UM neither has been successfully repressed nor has it compromised or spiritualized its ideals. In this paper I will compare the UM with a movement in many ways similar to it which went the way of compromise and spiritualization. I will discuss what in the UM has prevented it from going that way thus far, and what pitfalls the church must avoid in the near future to prevent such damage to its eschatological claims.
That other movement of which I speak is the evangelical reform movement of the second quarter of the nineteenth century in the northern United States. Admittedly this group, which I am going to identify with the revivalism of Charles Finney and for convenience label the "Finney movement" (FM), is an historical construction, but it is an acceptable one, dealt with as an entity by Gilbert Barnes, Charles Cole, William McLoughlin, Whitney Cross and Donald Dayton, to name a few. I will define the FM more narrowly than did those writers, as that group of evangelical Christians converted through Finney revivals between roughly 1825 and 1835.
We assume that at the time of conversion a significant portion of those converts took Finney as their religious leader and adopted his religious outlook. At least this was apparent to their opponent Unitarians, who called them "Finneyites." These converts flowed into and swelled the ranks of the already established "benevolence empire," taking leadership positions in and contributing financial support toward causes such as abolition, temperance, the labor movement, education, aid to the handicapped, prison reform, Bible and tract societies, domestic and foreign missions, Sabbatarianism, maternal associations, and so forth. Sociological studies of this period by Paul Johnson (1978), John Hammond (1979) and Mary Ryan (1981) confirm the relationship between the Finney revivals and Finney followers and those social enterprises. These scholars in fact argue that Finney's work signaled and stimulated a new order in the realms of economy, politics and gender relations.
These middle-class reformers had a millennialist stance, one which I will call a "tough-minded" eschatology. Groups with such a view hold that (1) some kind of social change is prerequisite for the coming of the Messiah, (2) they have the correct understanding of what that change should be, (3) they have a prerogative and peculiar responsibility (calling, election) for bringing about that change, and (4) if they are successful then the Lord is bound to come. I contrast tough-minded eschatology with "soft-minded" eschatology, which either does not see social conditions as a significant factor in the providence of God (the Millerite movement, for example) or sees social conditions important only as signs of the last days (Herbert Armstrong, Hal Lindsey). Others with a soft-minded eschatology may seek to affect social conditions but not consider such action to be relevant to the Kingdom's coming (D.W. Moody, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson). Unlike these groups, both the FM and the UM espouse a tough-minded eschatology. Further, the basis for their stance is radical conversion of individuals to a new relationship with God and the world. This separates the FM and UM from the social gospel movement or liberation theology, which, although they are tough-minded in advocating social change, ground their advocacy of the creation of communities and change of laws upon rational social analysis. The FM and UM are examples of religion advancing social advocacy based upon its own prophetic genius.
Other parallels between the FM and UM are interesting but merit only brief mention here. They both spring out of the same religious "lineage," that being an Arminianized Calvinism, roughly following Calvin's lineage from 16th century Geneva and the Rhineland through the English and American Puritans, the "Old Calvinism" of the late eighteenth century and the New Haven theology of the early nineteenth, with influences along the way from Arminius, Grotius, Richard Hooker and William Blackstone. The FM flourished two generations prior to the advent of dispensationalism, but it was among the FM's descendants -- Northern Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists -- that dispensationalism took root in America. American Protestant missionaries took this strain of Protestantism to North Korea in the 1880s, and Sun Myung Moon's family converted to Presbyterianism around 1930.
There is a similarity of social setting within which the movements respectively emerged, early nineteenth-century America being comparable to South Korea in the mid-1950s. They were both expanding societies, especially religiously and economically, in which ambitious and energetic peoples were plunging forward toward prosperity. Both had emerged victorious from life-threatening conflicts, and felt themselves to be carrying a banner of freedom.
There are parallels between Charles Finney and Sun Myung Moon themselves, being middle sons of large rural families, having secular education away from home, being guided to the religious vocation through revelation, attempting first to work through established churches, sacrificing their marital lives -- the list could go on. They each had or have a powerful preaching style, and convey their messages through oral more than print media.
A final parallel exists between their theologies. They both espouse a "moral government" theory, which allows for God's sovereignty and human freedom and responsibility. Both claim their theologies to be scientific and reasonable. Both claim that their theologies illuminate the meaning of the Bible, and on that basis call Christians across denominational lines. In both men's teachings, the laws or principles established by God exist for the sake of human fulfillment, which is also the completion of the moral universe and (for Unification theology) God's joy. Human beings have freedom which cannot be abrogated by God without violation of His own government. The eschatological goal is the achievement of a world in which human beings through their own volition live according to the will and heart of God. Such a world cannot be coerced into being nor created by supernatural power; it is the product of the cooperation of human beings and God. The kingdom cannot come without the concerted effort of human beings, using their own power to shape and transform the fallen world into God's ideal.
The post-millennial tendency is obvious. But the eschatological work cannot begin without a radical conversion and re-orientation in the life of the believer, leading the believer to perceive God's will and heart and "own the covenant" out of a sanctified motivation. Such a theology gives human beings the potential and mandate to unite heaven and earth, Christ and culture, God and the world. In both cases religious conversion effected a truncation of the affiliates' former way of life. This in turn caused division within society and controversy for and against the movement.
Breakdown of the Tough-Minded Stance A movement can maintain its tough-minded eschatological status as long as the members believe that they are bringing in the eschaton through their concrete historical activity. That self-perception is not easy to maintain. In the FM it passed within a decade of its birth in upstate New York revivals. The religious ideal and the secular ideal separated, and the movement disintegrated. On one hand, followers dedicated themselves to the secular expression of the ideals (abolition, labor rights, temperance, women's rights) but gave up the claim that the Kingdom was being ushered in through these activities. Especially with abolitionism, the need for a base of political support enervated the religious idealism and millennial energy of the early believers. On the other hand, Finney himself maintained the primacy of religion and revival and discontinued the eschatological signification of social goals, thus helping to spawn the pre-millennialism of the latter half of the century. By mid-century the socially "tough-minded" gave up their eschatological claims and those who upheld the eschaton gave up being tough-minded about it. Exacerbating these shifts was the passing of the social world within which the tough-minded stance developed, that passing characterized by the industrial revolution, urbanization, non-Protestant immigration, and new developments in the intellectual world: biblical criticism, Darwinism, and historical consciousness. Finneyite social theory and theology could not meet these practical and intellectual challenges, and this was a further stimulus toward an other-worldly view of the eschaton, further disconnecting human efforts from God's ultimate action.
Finney's failures to meet these challenges were the most important factors contributing to the failure of Finney's tough-minded eschatology. This failure had causes internal to the movement: (1) the absence of strong, centralized leadership; (2) the absence of a broad, inclusive ideology and vision; and (3) the absence of an ideal of solidarity in the movement. Before the external dissolution of the tough-minded enthusiasm there was a division of the movement into a plurality of self-important projects, none of the leaders of which were able to see beyond their own particular concern. The movement, it turned out, lacked a unifying, applicable vision. It was an enthusiasm which for a time attracted many of society's "movers and shakers," but nonetheless it was an enthusiasm.
Because of the parallels between the UM and the FM, especially in terms of the claim to be bringing in the Kingdom through social action dictated by prophetic mandate, many assume that the UM will go the same way as the FM and other like movements. The assumption is made, implicitly, that the UM will lose energy and fade away, or fragment into sub-sects, or "normalize" into a socially acceptable form. The arbiters of conventional wisdom therefore, write off the UM. This prevents most people from seeing the UM objectively and giving it the serious and sustained attention it deserves.
Even a superficial glance will reveal that already the UM has outlasted the FM in maintaining its own integrity and the viability of its eschatological claim. By 1835 persecution of Finney (a good sign that one is pursuing a tough-minded eschatological program) had virtually stopped. Finney's method (new measures revivalism) and message had become standardized and moderately respectable, and the reform movements sponsored by his followers were beyond his influence and even lacked his whole-hearted approval. No longer would he postulate the coming of the Kingdom, in three months no less, as being contingent upon the success of his revival.
The Reverend Moon, on the other hand, continues to suffer persecution, on increasingly large scales. His message has become neither standardized nor socially respectable, nor have his methods. (Even his own followers must continually revise their concepts of the man and his agenda.) The social activities generated by Reverend Moon's followers have remained religious in essence and have maintained unity with his vision and general direction. The followers maintain their belief that the Kingdom is coming in through their concrete social activity. Thus the tough-minded eschatological vision and claim is still very much alive in the UM. W e are driven to inquire what differences between the UM and the FM explain this relatively long-lived tough-minded eschatology. I will relate my answer to the three problematic factors internal to the FM which I noted: leadership, ideology and solidarity (these of course not being independent variables).
I want to approach this in a round-about way, beginning with the observation that the eschatological time schedule has been extended by Reverend Moon without causing great difficulty for the movement. Resistance in the larger society toward the social aims of the FM bought about not such an extension but rather a radical shift in that movement's eschatological claim. Finney's evangelical millennialism turned out to be magical: there was no continuous causal linkage between revival, social reform and the in breaking of the Kingdom on earth. The Kingdom came to individuals through religious experience, but could not be incarnated into the society. When what they hoped was the causal linkage -- from religious conversion to godly social movement -- broke down, all that was left was the magic, i.e., premillennialism. Reverend Moon has eliminated the magic by absorbing it into himself. That is, without blaming others or revising his goals, he takes responsibility for failures. He has done this by assuming the position and responsibilities of Messiah. Further, he inculcates in his membership the same ethic.
Thus, Reverend Moon has appropriated for himself a role quite different from Finney's. For both men, the role is, putatively, assigned by God and more importantly from a sociological point of view, it is accorded him by his followers. Given such a faith on the part of his followers it is to be expected that they would assign an altogether different valuation to their relationship with Reverend Moon than the Finney followers did their relationship with Finney, who merely laid claim to the status of evangelist. Indeed it is explicit in the Unification theology that personal salvation (or restoration) is affected, even effected, by one's unity with the central figure of the age. Therefore, his lifestyle, his family relationships, and his personal behavior are taken much more seriously by his followers than were Finney's by his. Reverend Moon will personally give individual missions and vocations. He recommends marriage partners and sanctions all marriages. He is called upon to name children. The personal status accorded the founder of the Unification Church in this way diminishes the possibility that the multifaceted activities he has inspired his followers to pursue will fragment in different self-important directions, at least during his lifetime. Future unity of the movement depends upon how much of that esteem for Reverend Moon can be transferred to his lineage.
The revelations received by Finney and Moon inspired in them different ideological formulations, differing especially in distance from the inherited tradition and in degree of inclusivity. With Finney the scope was for the conversion of Christians to a sanctified and activist faith which would transcend denominational lines (within the boundaries of revivalist Protestantism) and issue in social action to cleanse and perfect society (in the United States). Thus, Finney's vision conceivably could be fulfilled (and thereby exhausted) by the success of an abolition movement or a temperance movement. His vision did not extend beyond that rather reasonable goal in any effective way. Because the FM's social objectives were consummately reasonable, they eventually were whittled into politically viable form and thereby they gained enough support to insure their success in that reasonable form, the eschatological edge being lost in the process. This parallels the church achievement of political power in the fourth century at the cost of the loss of essential spiritual standards.
Reverend Moon's vision is far larger than Finney's; his claims on people are much greater and the programs he has inspired manifest ideals which resist the whittling process necessary for them to garner social legitimation and substantial support from an uncircumcised public. Therefore the UM has resisted the "de-eschatologicalization" process. Its positions have not yet gained public approval. The external cause for this is the fact that Reverend Moon's tough-minded eschatology is of a worldwide, trans-cultural, trans-racial, trans-religious scope; it ignores all previous human concepts of limitation and boundary, and thus does not blend easily with standard social norms, even those with a religious label. Therefore it is at least theoretically possible for this movement to succeed, or at least we can say that they have not limited themselves by narrowness of vision.
The question reduces to one of the nature of the vision underlying the conversion or salvation proffered through Reverend Moon. Are his movement, his principles and his people capable of subsuming the world under their vision of the Kingdom? Or will worldly victory come only at the cost of the loss of spiritual integrity and eschatological intensity? The Finney movement lost its tough-minded eschatology as it confronted the world. Somehow the post-millennial scheme of these evangelicals did not resolve the deep and fundamental problems of human nature and human life in the world. This conclusion was elaborated by Reinhold Niebuhr, who elucidated the paradoxical nature of the Christian experience, its partial and inconclusive applicability to this world, and the apparent impossibility of establishing the Kingdom in history. The fact that the UM has been able to maintain its Kingdom theology for even as long as it has would indicate that some fundamental God-world reconciliation has been accomplished within the movement. The members after nearly thirty years (we are into the second generation now, at least in Korea) are sustaining the tough-minded eschatological stance.
The phenomenon is complex, and clear conclusions cannot be drawn without hard research. I propose that a major factor which allows the UM to maintain its eschatological claim is Reverend Moon's personal activism based upon a coherent ideological vision. The movement is always moving, going forward and outward; the membership can never catch its collective breath, so to speak. It is an institution running along a steeply inclined tightrope; one glance away from the goal and it will surely fall. Therefore the goal must always stay ahead, but not too far ahead, of the movement's given position. In the 50s, that goal was to mount an evangelical crusade in America; in 1974, after they had struggled to fill halls with a capacity of two or three thousand to hear Reverend Moon, the goal became to fill Madison Square Garden and then Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument. In the early 80s it was the grassroots establishment of the Kingdom of God through Home Church. The overriding goal through this whole period has been to catch the ear of the world. The movement is reaching the point now where it has the ear of the world. Its members now must decide what to say. How can Reverend Moon achieve the position to be able to provide a vision which captivates the world as well as his own followers? And how can he sustain that position?
His answer involves in part the establishment of international structure addressing various segments of social life: religious, academic, civic, media, political, economic, cultural. This is one important facet of his social activism, explaining steps he is taking in line with his tough-minded eschatology. Finney's activities led to or enhanced the creation of social structures on a national, mono-racial level (Bible societies, etc).
The Reverend Moon's activities are leading to the creation of structures on an international, multi-racial, multi-religious level. Finney's program was dedicated to the alleviation of certain social conditions. His followers supposed that they had the empirical solution in hand: change the law, build the hospital, close the saloon. Moon does not make this supposition, or if he does, he is not ready to reveal it. Therefore his structures are "meta-institutions," international forums, really, built up around the explicit statement of common ideals and objectives of a very general nature. Instead of talking about doing things, under Moon's aegis scholars are talking about the basis upon which we even can approach doing things (to restore or develop the world) on a worldwide scale. Thus Reverend Moon is what in process philosophy would be called a mental pole (or even lure of God), summoning the concrescence of a great number of free agents, in the way they best see fit, around the actualization of an ideal world.
These Unification meta-institutions (the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, the Professors World Peace Academy, the New Ecumenical Research Association, etc.) primarily serve neither for the legitimation of the UM nor for the advancement of pure knowledge, though these are both accidental (in an Aristotelian sense) results. They are actually put into effect by Reverend Moon because they are the best way that he can maintain the tough-minded eschatological stance of the movement on a worldwide scale. He does this by articulating his ideals and vision on a scale such that they are intelligible enough to the participants to make them feel that they are relevant and worth pursuing, and yet beyond their capacities enough to provide them with a constantly evolving set of priorities, to keep them moving along a spiritual and physical vector the end of which cannot conceivably be reached, as one of my Vanderbilt Divinity School friends put it, this side of El Dorado.
This brings us to a problem which the UM is facing: the management and sustenance of institutional structure which obviously dovetail with the movement's eschatological goals but involve in the main people who do not sustain the commitment to Reverend Moon which is regarded as a sign and standard of true conversion. (This opens up a host of questions: what is the nature and range of that commitment on the part of "members?" What defines "total commitment?" Is it necessary for a person's' salvation? Is it necessary that a huge number of people make their commitment "total" for the movement to succeed? Are roles requiring less than "total" commitment also legitimate within the context of the teachings? I will be content for the moment to leave these questions within brackets.)
Meta-institutions do not bring concrete results and thus do not easily create a base of financial support. Thus far the meta-institutions of the UM are supported by church members, people who have accepted the True Parents (Reverend and Mrs. Moon) as the eschatological hope and on that basis have faith in the efficacy of the meta-institutions. But those institutions may not follow a smooth path forward. Persecution could intensify. The Reverend Moon will die someday. The institutions could come to be seen by the rest of the movement as marginal and extravagant. It would then be difficult for the institutions to survive unless at least some of the participants who are not members of the movement at the outset can become formal members, accept the True Parents, and give undivided support and long-term commitment to the movement on the basis of religious faith.
This would require that some scholars realize and accept that the Unification meta-institutions have an eschatological meaning, a real relationship to the Kingdom of God on earth, and not just that they are interesting and unique conferences. Acceptance of such an eschatological agenda requires a leap of faith, and such a leap begins with God, not with the human being. Therefore I am not questioning anyone's present calling in relationship to these institutions, nor belittling the tremendous contributions made thus far by many "outside" people. I would postulate as problematic, however, the fact that in order for the Unification meta-institutions to most easily fulfill their eschatological function, i.e., the part envisioned for them by Reverend Moon in bringing in God's Kingdom, it would be helpful if not absolutely necessary that some number of "world-level" participants came to share that vision for the institutions as closely as possible with Reverend Moon. This would involve, however, accepting Reverend Moon's basic claims about God and the world and ultimately about his own position.
Reverend Moon has established within his movement a distinctive quality of social and interpersonal relationships. Thus far this has been accomplished based to a large extent upon Reverend Moon taking the parental position for the members. Functionally, the meaning of membership has been that one accepts Reverend Moon's guidance, directly or through delegated channels, as a standard of authority over some very crucial aspects of one's life, specifically vocation, marriage partner and time of marriage. The end of personal concern with these matters creates a new social atmosphere, one which hopefully eliminates traditional conflict bases.
The present price for this is the sacrifice by members of some aspects of individual autonomy, particularly in the realm of family life, where people most like to maintain autonomy. Reverend Moon's claim is that this demand for sacrifice is an interim ethic, necessary for us to mature to the state where conflict can be overcome and human solidarity achieved through our own matured perfected character.
This trait of the UM is quite the reverse of the social relationships involved in the FM, at least superficially. One major factor in the dissolution of Finney's effect was the high valuation placed in his cultural milieu upon individual decision. Of course this typification of the milieu may be a myth, deniable on both philosophical grounds and by the results of historical scrutiny. But all we need to claim here is that people thought themselves autonomous individuals. Finney's movement was a loose structure amid which individuals could establish or choose (or believe that they were establishing or choosing) their own meaning systems, and place their own salvation as the highest priority. The resulting fragmentation of energy was not seen as a big problem.
Due to the millennial enthusiasm which pervaded the UM at least until 1976 (complemented by the strong influence of a large number of Japanese missionaries) the American UM membership was able to maintain the overt standard of individual submission to the whole, i.e., submission was the main requirement for membership. However, now members from that first generation of enthusiasts are becoming older, and soon many will be having families under the aegis of the movement. Most of the few earlier American members who already have families clearly have cooled their millennial fire. Problems arise: the traditional problem of declension when things get easier; the realization that the Kingdom is a bit farther off than one had expected, and the realization that one's individual perfection is not quite as simple a matter as one had at first expected. Then there is the encounter with the problem of motivation: can a group orientation (i.e., socialistic) sustain among individuals coming out of western society the long-term commitment or hard work which can be sustained by the profit motive? Can westerners in the UM sustain their dedication while their individual orientations are subsumed by group objectives? How can the movement counter the loss of motivation which is a problem in communist and socialist countries?
Ultimately the solution would seem to be that each member must appropriate in as consistent a fashion as possible the entire vision of Reverend Moon, so that Reverend Moon's goals and achievements and the movement's goals and achievements are appropriated as their own goals and achievements. The 80s and 90s will test the ability of westerners to make this complete commitment of heart which will be necessary both for them to establish long-term identity within the structure of group solidarity and for the movement to sustain the credibility of its tough-minded eschatology.
Looking back over the fourteen years since this paper was written, I feel that it was an accurate exposition of certain trajectories underway in the American UM. I will consider in these comments three questions: 1) Is the UM leadership, ideology and solidarity persisting into the 1990s in support of a tough-minded eschatological stance? 2) What is the present status of the meta-institutions? 3) The problem of declension.
A tough-minded eschatology means that the members still believe that there is a direct linkage between their concrete historical actions and the advent of God's Kingdom on earth and I would go further to say, that their action, carried out rightly, is the necessary and sufficient condition for God to bring in the Kingdom. Those maintaining such a view would have avoided the way of the FM, on the one hand spiritualizing the kingdom (that is, disconnecting its advent from their practical actions) and on the other promoting practical agendas without reference to kingdom-building. In my view, the UM is maintaining and even intensifying its tough-minded stance. I will present evidence for this, and expand upon its causes according to the categories suggested in the 1982 paper.
Recent evidence for the continuance of the tough-minded stance is the worldwide participation of the UM membership in the global speaking tours of Reverend Moon's wife, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. The premise of her tour is that the conditions have been set for the proclamation of the Reverend and Mrs. Moon's messiahship (viz., their position as the True Parents of all humankind) and that the world is entering the Completed Testament Age of God's providence. The speech outlines a biblical-historical story illuminating the nature of this claim, in which the UM's activities from the 50s through the 80s are woven into God's providence as the Lord of the Second Advent's "wilderness course," resulting from his rejection by Korean Christians in the 1940s.
The UM under the Moon's leadership has managed to produce enough concrete results to justify the faith of the core membership worldwide: public recognition of the Washington Times, development of a global media infrastructure, growth of the fishing industry, economic in-roads into China and southeast Asia, and an unprecedented degree of success spreading Unification teachings in the C.I.S. and among influential circles of middle-eastern Muslims. More impactful have been the accomplishments of Reverend and Mrs. Moon themselves: a meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev at the height of his career, a meeting with Kim II Sung, the Holy Wedding of some 40 Islamic couples, including the Grand Mufti of Yemen, and the Holy Weddings of 30,000 couples and 360,000 couples in the Seoul Olympic Stadium (and world-wide).
Simultaneously, in 1991 Reverend Moon implemented the "Tribal Messiah" movement worldwide, by which all church blessed couples were declared to have messianic authority in relation to their own extended families (tribes) and hometowns. Members were encouraged to relocate to their hometowns and to spread the faith through serving their families and communities. Tribal Messiahship was set up as the only valid activity of blessed couples, and as the veritable key to entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the meantime, Reverend Moon is providing what might be viewed as the social teachings of the Kingdom. These teachings yet have scant apparent correlation to the world's present circumstances, but as is always the case in the action of God, when seen from hindsight it will appear obvious that the way Reverend Moon has prepared was, if not predestined, at least predictable. Rejecting democracy as well as communism, he calls for the perfection of the family and clan through the Cain-Abel principle of Abel (the one blessed by God) melting the other's antagonism through sacrificial service, even through bearing persecution. The entire membership is responsible to accomplish this as individuals, families and tribes in their hometowns. Reverend and Mrs. Moon are to accomplish it on the national, global and cosmic levels (hence the impact of their meetings with Gorbachev and Kim, viewed as world-level Cain figures; it should be noted as well that Reverend Moon was greeted with joy by his relatives in his North Korean hometown.
Further, the ministry of Hak Ja Han Moon has commenced, based upon the premise that nations which receive her are accomplishing a Cain-Abel foundation, with her in the position of the mother of those siblings. She stands also in the position of Eve (bride) in relation to Adam (the bridegroom) and by uniting with the mother, the children automatically are uniting with the father, Reverend Moon. This is being worked out historically, albeit symbolically, and is in Unification theology comparable to the historical events surrounding other religious figures, seemingly inconsequential at the time and yet in hindsight turning out to have been transition points of human history. At the same time, Reverend and Mrs. Moon are mentioning that conditions are such that conscientious membership in any religion can serve as qualification for the Unification marriage sacrament (the fundamental key to the Kingdom), that entire nations might be blessed (as entire nations become Christian or Muslim), and even that all people below a certain age (born after 1960) have a special qualification to receive the blessing.
In this discussion I have covered the matters of Reverend Moon's vigorous leadership and the applicability of the Divine Principle ideology. Both these help to explain the developments outlined above, and to explain how the UM has weathered technological, demographic and intellectual shifts comparable in scope to those which undermined the FM's tough-minded stance. The final topic in this section is that of the solidarity of the membership. I will make one remark here, and more under the third heading below.
The subjective importance to members of their relationship with Reverend and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents remains the primary basis for the solidarity of the UM. Those who appropriate the Tribal Messiah mandate have gone beyond the child-parent relationship with them; they have reached in some respects the position of grown children, able to inherit the burden of the parents. While not assuming the complete accuracy of such self-perception, it does seem that a substantial number of westerners at least have made some progress toward that complete commitment of heart, the internalization of the UM's goals and values. Variability in terms of practice may be evidence not so much of diminished faith in the True Parents but rather of differing interpretations of the proper way to practice that faith.
Thus, while the activities of the UM continue to diversify, a vibrant solidarity is coming about, manifested through events varying from children's summer camps to church celebrations to the campaigns which call for the participation of members across vocational lines, a paramount example of which would be Mrs. Moon's speaking tours. I consider this solidarity to be one of the crowning achievements of Reverend and Mrs. Moon, for it provides the basis for the harmonization of individuals involved in divergent fields, centered upon what Reverend Moon loves to call absolute values.
The Role of the Meta-Institutions It is understandable why I in 1982, as a graduate student whose only institutional connection with the larger movement was through theological conferences, would emphasize the importance of the meta-institutions which designed those conferences. My analysis was unbalanced, but nonetheless these institutions are significant.
It seems that today the rubber is hitting the road: reduced funding is having an effect. Agendas, staffs and publications are being trimmed. Planning for long-term viability is underway, based not upon the socialism induced by church-based financial subsidization, but the entrepreneurship induced by life on the free market.
While the supporters and participants in these organizations' events in general remain favorable toward them, none have come forward with financial support, and few have been willing or able to participate pro bono publico. Some directors of these organizations have closed up shop in New York, London or Tokyo and have incorporated the mission into their hometown ministries, running their organization's reduced affairs by computer and fax machine. Others which dealt with the problem of communism have declared their mission accomplished. But in no case of which I am aware have the hundreds or thousands of participants come together to "take ownership" and save the institutions. It may well be, however, that such was not Reverend Moon's desire anyway.
While this belt-tightening is taking place, Reverend Moon's long-term vision for these meta-institutions is also coming into focus. He is inviting the most-committed and most influential of non-Unificationist participants to join with him in the development of a triad of supra-metainstitutions (forgive me). These three are the Federation for World Peace (FWP), the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP), and the Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP). The FWP is the culmination of the meta-institutions which dealt in the political arena, and the IRFWP culminates those which dealt in the religious arena. Participants in the more broadly academic, media, educational or social institutions will align with one or the other of these, presumably, according to their interest. Representing religion and society, or mind and body, the IRFWP and FWP are to harmonize in a Cain-Abel relationship, making the foundation for the bride or mother, incarnated institutionally in the WFWP. It seems that the harmonized body of the IRFWP and FWP will have the heading, FWP, as Reverend Moon conceives religion as a subset of culture in general, and as a phenomenon bound to wither away in any case. The WFWP is a different matter, and it apparently represents the future trend for the UM.
Centering upon Mrs. Moon, this organization is meant to call forth the energies of women on every level of society, but in particular to the task of creating stable and public-minded families. The position of women in the family, as wife, mother, sister and daughter, is deemed the key to the solution of family problems and liberation of the family to sacrifice its own interests for the sake of the public interest.
Mrs. Moon has stated in speeches that upon the foundation of the Women's Federation will come the Family Federation. One can imagine a Clan or Tribal Federation beyond that, and other sorts of Federations emerging according to the order of nature, up to the national, global and cosmic levels. Further, the FWP and the WFWP are to harmonize, not as siblings but as husband-wife. Here again we gain a glimpse of the unification view of the shape of the Kingdom.
While earlier meta-institutions are shrinking and being marginalized, the "second generation" of meta-institutions mentioned above are expanding and are in no way on the margins of the UM agenda. Every member worldwide, virtually, is involved with the WFWP. The UM thus has a grassroots meta-institution, the criteria for involvement being not one's professional status but simply one's gender.
At the close of my 1982 paper I opened a thorny issue, that of the cooling of the millennial fires and the related obstacles facing westerners in adopting a group orientation. I said that the 80s would be the test. The 80s are over and the western membership has gone through the developmental states of marriage and the ensuing of family life. Reverend and Mrs. Moon, having gone through that stage thirty years ago, continually teach the method of maintaining one's family in a position of complete dedication to God heretofore possible only for the single and celibate.
The method, and implicit demand, is that members submit as families to the same degree they did as individuals. The presence of children and the need for their housing and sustenance is secondary before the providence of the God of history and the nations. This obviously requires a greater degree of dedication than does the sacrifice of individual considerations. No one need argue before a Unificationist the validity of the parental instinct. Greater wisdom is demanded of the church leaders, in that repercussions which can be absorbed by an individual (for instance, constant changes of vocation and location) are absorbed by a family at much greater psychic and social cost.
Declension refers as well to the ability of the second and third generations to inherit the faith of the first generation. This, however, really is a test of the 90s and beyond, which I will not enter into here at length. I have heard from an elder teacher that Reverend Moon considers a success rate of one-third of the blessed couples to be sufficient; this will be a great challenge to the UM.
However, comparison of the UM with the FM, or other similar Christian revivals, must at this point take into account the divergence between the two in the understanding of salvation. Unification Church theology subsumes the Pauline view, accepting it but considering it incomplete -- being only a spiritual rebirth -- and adds to it the step of physical rebirth. Thus, what Charles Finney left as spiritual, the Reverend Moon brings to the physical, finally biological, level. For the most part, people join the Unification Church through a Christian-type spiritual rebirth, then proceed through a period of training, tantamount to life as a Christian monk or nun. The real joining of the church, the real salvation, is the marriage blessing. In that event, the bride symbolically becomes one with the Messiah, the True Father. The husband then, by becoming physically one with the bride establishes a physical, nay, biological, condition of oneness with the Messiah (the returning Jesus). This once-removed biological condition will be completed eventually through the intermarriage of the couple's descendants with descendants of Reverend and Mrs. Moon. Thus, one family of humankind, centering upon God, will be substantiated.
Having this biological basis for salvation takes the UM beyond the vagaries of spiritual religion. Salvation, after all, cannot be limited to religious types. Unification salvation concerns not only the human-divine reconciliation, along with a qualified resolution of the mind/body and neighbor/neighbor struggle, for which traditional religions have striven, but also the justification and sanctification of parent-child, husband-wife and brother-sister love. The True Parents stand to proclaim the incarnation of God within these relationships. Since these relationships constitute the deep structure of life, the True Parents' love will prevail against the hell of free sex, lesbianism and homosexuality. After all, true love is the confluence of what one wants and what is right. It goes beyond millennial fire and revival enthusiasm. It depends not upon economic systems, political revolutions or social reform. It is as tough-minded as an eschatology can get.