Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
Just got back from my first weekend at Boonville since moving into the Washington Street center a week ago. The whole time I kept thinking about my very first weekend workshop and I thought I would try to remember some of the key things that I experienced.
One of the first images I had was of Camp Asbury, where my family lived for a couple years outside of Hiram, Ohio, when I was in fourth and fifth grade. Boonville reminded me of summer camp.
The lecturer that weekend was Dr. Durst, Onni's husband. He had the worst hair I'd ever seen. He was obviously bald but had grown his black hair long on one side and then plastered it over the top of his head. I couldn't understand how someone could deliberately look that way and think no one would notice. It was almost comical and very distracting.
I remember being pretty bored and sleepy the first lecture or two and being freaked out by James holding my hand all the time. At the Washington Street center the first time I came to dinner I was on the lookout for signs James was part of some kind of religious group, but I never saw any. Now it was clear that this was a religious group because they kept talking about God like it was a person.
Dr. Durst mentioned the Bible, but it was different from what I expected. He'd quote some scripture and then explain it in a way I never heard before, but somehow it made a lot more sense to me. But I was mad because I felt tricked, and I felt trapped because I couldn't leave until Sunday. I tried not to listen to Dr. Durst. Instead I sat there thinking about a girl I knew in high school back in Dover whose house I would go to sometimes to do homework and we'd end up having amazing sex. A couple times when her parents were out of town I spent the night with her, playing Neil Young on her stereo and balling all night. She had a great little body and just thinking about it made all those memories come back. The daydreaming got me through the morning.
It bugged me that everybody was so cheerful all the time. It didn't seem real or genuine, but they were so insistent that it was hard to call them phony, even though I wanted to. I just wanted to get away by myself for a few minutes, but James was always right there. I felt like I was drowning in love.
I thought dodge ball would be a fun, but I hated it the first time we played it. Our team was supposed to chant in unison, "Bomb with love! Bomb with love!" really loud. And other team was screaming "Love conquers all! Love conquers all!" even louder. One sister started scolding me for not chanting and it made me mad. I just wanted to play the game, but they had turned it into some kind of exercise in spiritual warfare.
I was in Poppy's group that weekend. I really felt like I had made a big mistake in coming and I couldn't wait for the weekend to be over. But then she would hold my hand and act like I was somebody special and I wouldn't feel so negative. Then she would ignore me and pay attention to somebody else.
I woke up Sunday knowing I'd get to go home in the afternoon. I looked forward to it, but not as much as the day before. For some reason I couldn't explain, I didn't feel so negative. I was fairly impressed by the lecture about Jesus and the sharings of David and Kristina. Actually, David's sharing bored me, but Kristina started talking about taking a leap of faith. She said it was like you were stranded on the side of a cliff and couldn't go up or down, and somebody dropped you a rope but it was out of your reach and the only way to reach it was to take a leap of faith that you would catch it and you would survive. That made sense to me. Then she said something that really hit me, because before coming to Boonville I really didn't have any hope for the world. I thought nuclear war was pretty certain in the near future. But Kristina said even if there's only one-billionth of one percent of hope in what they were doing, it was better than no hope at all.
By the time the van was ready to leave that afternoon for the city, I no longer wanted to go. But I had promised myself I would and no matter how hard they tried to get me to change my mind, I refused. James, Poppy and Big Jim all tried to talk me into staying, just for a week. James kept saying how amazing and incredible it was, and I believed him. But I had made up my mind to go and they finally gave up.
After they dropped me off in the city at Frederick Street, I gave James the Sony cassette deck. I knew in my heart I wanted to go back to Boonville. I had a very uncomfortable two days with Jerry. It seemed parts of the lectures, even when I was trying not to listen, kept coming back to me, pertinent to whatever I was doing or thinking. It was disturbing, yet I was fascinated by the power of the word.
So I came back to San Francisco and stayed with Imoe. We threw the tarot cards one night, but the reading was really ambiguous, except for one card which I drew as an extra because the other cards were so unclear. It was the Thirteen, or Death card. That really freaked me out. I thought it meant I was going to die. But it turned out to be the one concept destined to make the biggest impression on me, but of course I didn't know that at the time. Imoe finally said I shouldn't be afraid.
I went back to Washington Street the next night and then up to Boonville, planning to stay on the land for a week to learn the truth and then split for the Grand Canyon or someplace to think it over.
One of the first people to greet me in Boonville was Reid, who was in my group last weekend and had stayed for the week. He seemed different than I remembered. His eyes were really bright and he was smiling, really smiling. Something he experienced during the week had made him very happy, and it made me want to have that experience too. He said he was hoping I would come back.
I was in Big Jim's group, which I was a little disappointed about because I wanted to be in Poppy's group again. But it didn't make any difference because the rest of the week was like the light show at the end of "2001." I felt like I was just being accelerated faster and faster every day. The lectures were just blowing me away.
Sometime on Friday of that first week I asked Reid if he knew who the messiah was and he said yes but that there wasn't a need to talk about it. So then I knew that I really had to stay.
I remember taking my meditation hour downstream, where I found a freshly dead vulture. I figured the place might be symbolic so I prayed there, somehow reaching the conclusion that Dr. Durst must be the messiah. As soon as the idea came into my head I knew it had to be true.
Also during the week, Jim Hassan, an Egyptian business executive who had been in my group that first weekend after I came back (actually my second weekend), he came back on Thursday after having left after the weekend for some reason. While we were hiking off for a special reading, I started flashing on Jim Hassan really being an Arab spy who had come to kill Dr. Durst with a bomb disguised as a tape deck or radio. I got very upset, especially when I noticed he wasn't in the group hiking up the hill. I didn't know what to do, so I prayed to HF that I was wrong.
Then Jennifer read to us about the man who brought the Principle to us. I was expecting her to say Dr. Durst, but when she said Sun Myung Moon I couldn't believe it. My heart didn't want to accept it. But when I prayed about it on the hillside, I realized I was wrong, just as I had asked to be. I had been tricked into overcoming my prejudice. Fifteen minutes later I knew in my heart who the real messiah was.
The next day, Saturday, I told James I really wanted to go home and see my parents one last time before committing myself to this new life. But he said it would be foolish, that now that I knew who the messiah was, Satan would play on all of my emotions and try to draw me away from the Family. He said I was vulnerable and open to attack and that I should wait until my spirit man was stronger. He said I was one of the most prepared people he had ever met, and that if I left something might happen to me or my family, that Satan was ruthless against God's people. He said some people who had been really prepared had left and then got into terrible accidents. It scared the crap out of me.
That night I prayed very hard for several hours it seemed, asking for forgiveness of all of the sins I could think of. But overall I felt like I was facing a wall. I had a terrible headache and my sinus in the forehead was filled with mucus. I wanted so much to break down and cry, but I only managed a couple tears. I finally got up to go to the bathroom when I saw a light out of the corner of my eye. When I looked at it, I saw that there was a fire over at the fireplace. I remembered what James had said about evil spirits being all around and that it was not good for me to be out alone. But I ignored my conscience and walked over to where I had seen the fire. There was no fire. Only glowing coals.
So I threw a few sticks on and built a small fire. Then Jim Bob showed up. He had a bad chest cold and his coughing had woken up the rest of the lean-to, so they sent him down to the barn to sleep. We only spoke for a minute and after a few minutes my fire died down and I walked back toward the lean-to. But just as I got halfway across the riverbed, I heard a most hellacious bird call off to my left, answered by another call about equidistant to my right. I was frightened but stood still and listened for a minute. It was so weird.
The next morning I woke up with a terrible chest cold. I tried fighting it out in exercises and song practice, but most of all I found I could cry. Especially the lecture about Jesus and how his crucifixion was the worst thing that ever happened in the history of mankind since the Fall of Man. Noah was so passionate about it that it was like I was watching it happen all over again and it just tore me up inside. I couldn't stop bawling for hours.