40 Years in America

A National Movement Emerges 1972-74

Father speaks at Carnegie Hall

During the years 1972–1974, the Unification Church emerged as a national movement in America. Not only did all the missionary groups merge by the end of this period, but national membership multiplied ten times, evangelistic crusades were held in all fifty states, substantial properties were purchased, international conferences held, and a controversial "Answer to Watergate" statement circulated in full-page advertisements bought in most of the nation’s major newspapers. By the end of this period, the church’s rapid growth had provoked controversy and confrontation. However, prior to considering that, it is important to understand how the movement achieved rapid growth, stability and prominence in the 1970s. Basically, this development was the result of the Church’s organizational initiatives, favorable conditions of American national life, and most importantly, the presence of Rev. Moon.

In terms of organizational initiatives, the three-year period between 1972- 74 divides into two eighteen-month phases. The first, beginning January 1972, focused on the attainment of internal solidarity. Consisting of a series of pioneer training programs, this phase culminated in the achievement of a viable national structure in all fifty states by July 1973. A second phase, building on this national network of support, focused on the attainment of public visibility. A series of highly successful "Day of Hope" speaking crusades culminated in a full house at New York’s Madison Square Garden on September 18, 1974 and a triumphant eight-city tour concluding in San Francisco and Los Angeles in December 1974.

Favorable conditions in American national life, particularly a ready supply of youth disillusioned both with American society and with the counter-cultural alternatives of the 1960s also contributed to the church’s development. In addition, the crisis of the Nixon Presidency afforded the movement an opportunity for national exposure. However, of far more importance for the emergence of the Unification Church as a national movement was the unifying and energizing presence of Rev. Moon. Just as the early missionaries shaped the character of their groups, Rev. Moon gave substance to the national movement. In this sense, it is appropriate to date the birth of the Unification Church of America from his arrival.

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