40 Years in America

Registering Tribal Messiahs

During this period the movement desired to increase its membership base, but had yet to hit upon a viable recruitment strategy, especially in the West. Between 1978-83, Rev. Moon "spoke about home church and nothing else." After that, there was a "total mobilization" of members on IOWC teams for three years, from 1983-86. They were mobilized for the CAUSA signature drive in 1986 and for the ICC minister providence in 1987-88. In late 1988, Rev. Moon re-introduced the home church providence, but in a new form. Based on his triumphant return to Korea and recognition by the Nampyung Moon Clan, he asked that members return to their hometowns as "tribal messiahs" and work in a similar fashion to win their relatives. This also was in accordance with the period’s dominant theme of "settlement in Canaan."

The situation was complicated in that American members were simultaneously asked to undertake a worldwide pioneer witnessing condition to evangelize for extended periods in foreign countries over a twelve-year period. In addition, they were asked to assist in the massive C.I.S. workshops. Nevertheless, Rev. Moon asked all members to register as tribal messiahs in 1991. Many families pulled up stakes and relocated to their hometowns. Unlike in Korea, where there still was an extensive village culture as well as clan and lineage-based associations, many American members whose families were scattered in every direction were unsure of precisely where their hometowns were. The vastness of America also contributed to couples and families becoming isolated. In Korea, church couples presumably could maintain a residence in Seoul while working with their families and relatives on weekends or during vacations. Or, if they relocated to their hometown, the country was small enough that they could still fellowship with members at worship services or other occasions. However, in America, couples might live two or three hours away from the next church family.

Or there might be five or six families in a state. In many cases, with young families and inadequate incomes, tribal messiahs faced major challenges. The American movement between 1985-92 found itself in a bifurcated situation. Through The Washington Times, the World Media Association, CAUSA USA, the Summit Council for World Peace, AULA, International Leadership Seminars, the Professors World Peace Academy, ICUS, the Universal Ballet, the Assembly of the World’s Religions and numerous other organizations, it gained access to and interacted with leaders at the highest levels. At the same time, the movement’s grassroots base was underdeveloped. This created a somewhat top-heavy organization. However, it was consistent with Rev. Moon’s "1:3:10" principle whereby the movement spent three times as much on ecumenical and inter-religious work than for its own support and ten times as much on social projects. In other words, the movement intentionally allocated only one-fourteenth of its budget for self-support and maintenance functions. This also was consistent with Rev. Moon’s intention not to create a new religious denomination but to transform the world. It was this determination more than anything else that propelled the movement forward into the next phase of its development.

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