Dear Anne-Marie,

I was told that you could possibly answer my question. I was talking to a blessed sister who has a daughter in high school. She was quite upset over a situation that happened and that shook her daughter's faith. Here it is.

A BC boy approached the daughter and said, "Look in my hand - I am holding a CIG membership!!" The daughter looked and could not see anything. The boy replied, "It's a spiritual membership, and my parents paid $1000 for it"!!

The daughter reported this to her mother and asked what kind of church is this - that we are paying money for a spiritual membership? Have you heard of anything like this? Could this be true? Or was this a "story" that this boy was telling her? I would like to help set the matter straight so that the daughter can feel better.

Thank you,
Marcia Schlichting


Dear Marcia,

The Family Federation is composed of all sorts of people. God and True Parents do not limit who can become a member and therefore we have a great diversity in character, personality, and in the spirituality of our membership. The goal of True Father is ultimately to help every individual reach the standard where he/she can relate to God directly -- and build in within and around them the Kingdom of God. With that said, there are many things that happen in our movement at all levels of membership that may be questionable. If we bring our faith to be dependant on these things we will never grow. Our spirit will get stuck in the bureaucratic and politics and ultimately will die.

The most important mistake made by religious individuals, not just in our movement, but in every religious movement, is the limitation they put on their faith. Their faith is dependant on their pastor, their teacher, their central figure. If that pastor, teacher, or central figure says or does something that does not make sense or even contrary to the teachings, then in the end that individual can lose faith and lose the ability to connect to God.

What kind of church are we? We are a movement who is restoring the world. We are a movement which is fighting on a daily basis with 6,000 years of misconception, misunderstanding and ignorance of what is true. Many things will come and go; many traditions will come and go during this restoration process. At the end of this history what will remain is an ideal relationship between God and humankind and the creation, nothing else of the 6,000 years struggles will be there. Is the "spiritual membership" story true or not? I do not know. If I come across an explanation for it, I will let you know. What is important however is that it is irrelevant to my relationship with God and with True Parents and with the Divine Principle.

A teenager's faith is very fragile and very precious. It should not be faced with this kind of dilemma. however, it cannot be avoided. And, it is this kind of thing that will help the teenager become an adult with a unique relationship with God that will be indestructible. It is normal for a teenager to question. Teenagers must do so. It is a normal process in their learning experience. The "Why?" that a four year old expresses with great interest is transformed into a desperate "Why?!" when that four year old reaches the late teenage years.

The only things we can do as adult is: embrace, encourage, love, guide and observe. We must be there to pick up the pieces of a very bad day, and be there to participate in the joyful exuberance of another day.

It is my hope that this teenager will disregard this particular incident as something that she or he does not need to bother with at this time. In the future, it may come again and at that time a better explanation may be forthcoming, or it will be proven a hoax.

I hope this helps, please keep me posted,