40 Years in America
1969. Left to right: George and Diane Fernsler, Mrs. Won Bok Choi, True Parents, and Gladys and Wesley Samuel
How I was witnessed to in August 1968 and how I came to respond was on the basis of several spiritual experiences. At that time, while studying all the worldís religions I found I had some mediumship abilities, specifically automatic handwriting. I would take a pen in my hand, relax and then the pen would start writing answers to asked questions independent of my will. Through this automatic handwriting, various spirit persons who had previously lived on the earth, each with their unique handwriting, would speak through the written word messages such as: Christ was to return soon!
The next President of the U.S. will be -- ! How to find some lost articles. I was chastised for wearing too short shirts by Augusto Montero, a 12th-century spirit who said his wife would never wear anything like that. I did not always get the point and said, "Yeah, right! The 12th century!" Also internal problems of friends were revealed so that I might help them.
Everything these spirit persons told me seemed to prove true and so I developed a basic trust in what they said. However, even though I had studied the worldís religions, I was still stuck on my Catholic viewpoint ("upon this rock I build my church"). I was not as open minded as I needed to be to receive the new, complete understanding of truth the Messiah was to bring. So one day a spiritual entity told me a lie and said that I had lived at the time of the Incas and that I persecuted my children and husband for wanting to believe in a one true God. I was so upset by this that I cried and cried and asked my mother why would they tell me such a thing. My mother said, "I donít know why they would tell you such a thing. I donít even know why they even talk to you." However, the spirit person also told me, "Because of this persecution, you, Nanette, must now love people of all religions."
Then, one afternoon while I was visiting a friendís apartment, everyone left to fulfill various tasks. I used this opportunity of being alone to pray, but to my surprise all of a sudden my spirit lifted out of my body and seemingly traveled a million miles an hour. I went through dark realms, a white electric realm, and then to a very white area where there was an oriental man sitting at a desk. He was gesturing with his hands trying to tell me something but I couldnít hear his words. After about five minutes I came back through white and then dark areas to my body. I then asked the spirit person, Augusto Montero, "Who was that oriental person sitting at the desk and why couldnít I hear him?" Augusto said, "You couldnít hear him because you werenít really listening and therefore you must search further and you must look longer." In June I said to God, "I canít start another semester of college until I find out the purpose of my life and a purpose for my art." I wanted to create art or writings that would change peopleís lives or make people think deeply. I asked God to bring me to his highest truth by September 1, 1968. It was June at the time these events were occurring. Then in August 1968, while I was attending service at a church involved in community social help, a unique visiting choir from the "Unified Family" (early name for our movement) changed my life forever. While eating lunch after the service, the spirit world brought my attention to a young man from the choir talking with a militant and very liberal-minded woman. I felt directed to go sit with her, but fought the urge because of what she appeared to stand for.
However, a force that felt like an invisible hand picked me up and pushed me in her direction. I said, "Okay, okay, Iím going." I sat across from this young man, who happened to be Neil Salonen. When he said something special happened in 1960, I thought of the Letters of Fatima and how the Pope was suppose to have fainted when he read the Fatima letters. I though of the visions of Jean Dixon in 1960 when she saw an oriental man, lady and child coming from the East and other prophecies. I became very negative when I heard the young man (Neil) saying he knew what happened in 1960. What gives this young man special knowledge? No one knows what happened in 1960. At that very moment I heard a loud voice in the room that no one else in the room heard. The Voice said, "You must love people of all religions." It was the same words they spoke to me in the automatic handwriting when they said I suppressed my family. I then became more open minded and listened further. Then this young man said the name of the group was the "Unified Family"; I got negative again. I thought, what kind of name is that for a group? Once again a loud voice came in the room, which only I could hear. The Voice said, "You must search further and look longer." Those were the words that came to me when I saw the vision of the oriental man in the spiritual world. Then I realized that those two spiritual experiences were given to me to open my mind and it was not accidental that those two voices came to me at these exact moments of my negativity. I was being led and I should listen. I thought I had studied all the world religions and so many philosophers; I thought there was nothing else to look at. I had actually closed my mind to anything more, while professing to be openly searching.
As I sat next to this girl, Neil asked this girl three times to come have lunch at the church center and hear a lecture, but she refused each time. Neil and this girl were having coffee and I was eating a big lunch. I said, "Iím not doing anything. I can come and have lunch with you." Neil looked at me, looked at my lunch, looked at my Op Art clothes and shoes (he later admitted he thought I looked like a Christmas tree). I, as an artist, was wearing art earrings, stockings with stripes, and a dress you sort of got dizzy when you looked at it, not to mention my imaginative eye makeup. Later, I heard that the members said to each other as Neil brought me back to lunch, "Neil doesnít know how to pick them." Of course, my outside decoration really didnít reflect my inner preparation and searching for the absolute truth. I came and heard Chapter 1 twice; I loved Chapter 1! The second time I came, Neil was waiting for me to study Chapter 2. After he found me studying Chapter 1 again, he asked me if I planned on staying in Chapter 1 all my life.
Then Becky, Neilís spiritual mother, had a cousin she had to teach one night, so I stayed and heard the lectures Chapter 2 - Conclusion, until 2 am. When I heard the conclusion Neil asked me, "Would you like to see the picture of the man who brought these teachings?" I looked at the picture and it was the same oriental person who was behind the desk in the spiritual world who tried to speak to me. Neil then said, "Do you know what happened in 1960?" I said, "Of course I know what happened in 1960. Mr. Moon had a baby." I sort of jumped the gun on the four-position foundation. Whenever those spirit persons wanted to contact me, the lights would flicker in the room I was in. At the conclusion, lights started to flicker and everyone wondered what was happening; of course I understood -- those who had led me to the movement were present at this great moment. Soon after I did some automatic handwriting and the spirits apologized for telling me a lie, but they did defend their actions by explaining it was the only way they could get me to be completely open minded. It is amazing how fast God works when we ask His help. I prayed to Heavenly Father in June, "I canít start school again without knowing your highest truth." Two months later, on August 25th I heard the conclusion. I stayed up until 4 am in the church talking. I called and woke my best friend, Linda (Marchant) Perry, at 2 am and told her that the conclusion was so wonderful. She said "What is it?," and I said, "I canít tell you." She said, "You called me up at 2 am to tell me you canít tell me something?" I said, "Yes. You have to hear the lectures first."
I always explained all the religions I was studying to Linda, but when I tried to explain the first lecture, all I could say was, "Linda, I canít explain the lecture -- God is like a man and a woman." Linda, who was just enduring all my spiritual searching, said, "Oh Nanette, thatís the best one yet." Little did she know that God was preparing her to serve the Messiah and she would soon be dedicating the rest of her life to serving humankind. The first day I came to the church center with Neil, I remember looking at how everyone dressed so plainly and yet they were so beautiful. Every word spoken was so sincere with so much meaning. A very pure love and concern flowed between brothers and sisters, as they called themselves, as if they were truly one family under God. On that first day I remember Linna Rapkins was finishing a 7-day fast in preparation for her mission to Canada. I thought, "I never passed up a dessert." I was truly amazed and determined to acquire that internal discipline. Jesus said that fasting indemnifies the forces of Satan and prayer calls on the power of God. Our movement did a lot of fasting in the beginning days, so I soon acquired my own internal discipline. My longest fast was 12 days, and then there were seven or eight 7-day fasts and many 3-day fasts. It was truly a great feeling for my spirit to be able to control my physical body in this way. It was wonderful how we studied Divine Principle. We read page by page, each taking turns between Neil, other new members and myself.
At the end of every page we took the time to discuss questions to ensure we understood the Principle. Next we had to outline the whole Divine Principle and practice teaching each lecture. I remember Neil sitting at the back of the room and his saying, "Speak up. I canít hear you and I need more eye contact." Miss Kim instructed: donít wear earrings that dangle when you are teaching; it is very distracting. Miss Young Oon Kim, the first Korean missionary to America, would sit at the end of the table with about twelve of us first members surrounding her; it looked like a Last Supper scene every night. She often would read us the reports from the first missionaries she sent to Canada and Europe and the correspondence from Korea. Her life was a great sacrifice to become the mother of America. On Wednesday nights we had prayer meetings and testimonies of how God had brought us to this movement. Miss Kimís testimony was amazing. I wrote every word of it down as precious history. When we prayed we turned off the lights and only had prayer candles lit. We cried and cried and all of us really felt Godís heart. We always had a roll of toilet paper in the middle of the floor, which everyone used to wipe their tears.
Stories of Father
The day Father finally came for his second visit to America in 1969, he came into the Upshur House and greeted each one of us personally. Even a girl who had an illegitimate pregnancy and had just heard the Principle, he treated with love. Mother looked so soft, her hands seemed to melt like butter, one hand into another. She seemed to be the essence of femininity in every way. Father brought Pres. Eu with him, who taught us 40 days of lectures. Pres. Eu used to joke with me, "Nanette, you are an artist and you have the Principle; you have everything." At one point Father interrupted Pres. Euís lectures and spoke to us for three hours on how Jesus was treated by Mary, Joseph and his brothers and sisters. I thought my heart would break! I cried so hard my whole skirt and blouse was soaking wet. Father asked questions about all the members; he was concerned about their age and their background. He related to all the members with such a fatherly concern. Father told us when we were in the sitting room that the day will come when there will be thousands of members and it will be difficult for us to have a chance to talk with him personally.
One day a world-famous economist came to speak to Father. Father shocked him by his understanding of world economics and explained how the economy of the world should change. Another day a conductor and writer of classical music came to see Father. Father spoke to him on how to conduct and write music. I felt Father intuitively understands all fields of study.
In 1968 I remember a song heaven inspired on the radio: "Come Mr. Sun, come Mr. Moon, save us." Also, Father was saying that we must shed sweat for earth, tears for man and blood for heaven, and then there was the famous rock band at that time called "Blood, Sweat and Tears."
I remember Becky Salonen telling us about her many spiritual experiences as a child. Many songs in our songbook were received spiritually. Hilly Edwards heard angels sing the song "He has come, his face is like the sun and like the moon." Sandra Singleton and Dan Fefferman, as well as many others, were inspired to write so many songs. Glenda Moody had many, many spiritual experiences where God came to speak to her in a room. God came in the form of a burning ball in the room and directed her to this movement. This reminded me of Moses and the burning bush. In the early days so many spiritual experiences happened. The spirit world really testified to bring the first members. Today the truth of the Principle can stand on its own. And yet, at the first Blessing in 1969, Miss Young Oom Kim cried tears, saying, "Where are the thousands who heard and are not here today?"
How easily they forgot their spiritual experiences as Joseph forgot his revelation given to him by the angels about Mary. Very few could sacrifice their lives and be willing to pay the indemnity necessary to fulfill their missions. The first members could not be blessed for seven years. Married couples waited many years to be blessed, living as brother and sister while waiting for conditions to be met. The blessing being given out so easily today comes on the foundation of True Parentsí and older membersí blood, sweat and tears.
Philip Burley was the President of the church during the time I first joined. For 40 days Philip was making a prayer condition every night between midnight and 2 am on the cold, cement basement floor. One night George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson appeared and said that Upshur House in Washington, D.C. was more important than the White House because it was the center of Godís Providence for America. Philip heard the Principle by reading a DP book that was sent to him while he was a guard in the DMZ zone in Korea. Jesus appeared to him, explained the Principle and Jesus asked him to touch his (Jesusí) back so he might know the realness of the experience. At that time in Korea an image of Jesus appeared in the clouds. I have a photograph of that. A spiritual daughter of mine in the Bahamas also saw an image of Jesus in the clouds years later.
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