The Early Unification Church History
WHO WERE THE EARLY MEMBERS
It is easy to assume the early members weren't working hard enough and their approach inadequate. There is also the concept perpetuated by some that they were a collection of uneducated misfits or failures. The credentials for being prepared for God’s work are not framed and hanging on the wall. To a great extent, they are the credentials in the spiritual legacy left you by ancestors.
Let us look at these early members not in light of their academic credentials, for those are of little value in understanding the Divine Principle and Reverend Moon.
There are reasons the work progressed so slowly, and not just because of the inadequacy of the early members. In 1960, the spiritual climate was much different. Spiritual phenomena, which is openly discussed today on television, was discussed only in very private groups. It is common to see a television program openly discussed ghosts and the spirit world. In those days, if you spoke openly about the spirit world or unorthodox ideas on religion, you quickly frightened some people away, and then branded a member of some cult.
Picture, will you, a small group of people, both men and women, living together communally in a flat. The group is led by an oriental woman, a missionary from some small obscure church in a third world country. This woman, a missionary to the world, carrying a message from a man who wasn't even an ordained minister and whose authority came from God through a revelation. Many people impressed with status in it's many forms, would find little interest in this small unimpressive group.
Miss Kim had literally a hand full of people who understood and believed the message she brought. They found in the Divine Principle and Reverend Moon something worth giving up everything, including children, to work in a spiritual mission in the United States. What other than their connection to God were the credentials of three housewives, and two plywood plant workers, made up this early group in San Francisco. To say the least, this was an under whelming array of members with which to launch a world mission.
From the above description, it would be easy to arrive at the popular portrayal of the early members as an uneducated group of underachievers. A portrayal embraced not only by our detractors, but also by later members within the Unification Church.
In some of the writing about the early members, great pains are taken to portray the early members as a group of losers. Even to the extent of exaggerating negative descriptions of the early members. It would also lead one to believe that the only reason a person would be interested in religion and our movement in particular, was because they were uneducated or failures.
Academic education is no proof of either wisdom or intelligence. Memorizing the Bible does not assure that a person is Christian, and we see many bible quoters who haven't the foggiest understanding of the essence of God and Christianity. There is something more then knowledge.
What the detractors fail to see in these early members is their will. They fail to understand the influence of God in the early members lives--these early members were God's lot to work with. There is a failure to recognize the spiritual as anything significant and the effect of a person's spiritual ancestry on their destiny. They only look to the obvious.
WHY THE EARLY MEMBERS WERE THERE
In the orient, the people are very concerned with their ancestors and their family. This is a tradition they have learned from their religions. They have a strong sense of who their ancestors are and have elaborate rituals to honor and remember their ancestor. Could it be that these orientals know something that we westerners don't or have forgotten.
In the orient, if a son or daughter is to be married, they want to know about the ancestors of the prospective son or daughter-in-law. Even business deals are sometimes made after checking out a persons ancestry. A businessman might consult a medium to check out ancestry before closing a business deal with someone.
To dishonor the family name or reflect badly on ones ancestors is considered unpardonable. To dishonor the family is sometimes considered severe enough that a person must kill themselves to atone for the crime.
The Western Christians like to call this "ancestor worship" and pass it off as some superstition or pagan belief. Yet in the west we set aside special days to honor, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. In the south they have days off to honor Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. We have days to honor the war dead. To honor or remember someone is not worshiping them. It might not be a bad idea, to do something to remember our departed parents on their birthday.
Whether the westerners want to accept it or not, the Orientals know a great deal about the effects of ancestry on our lives. The Bible tells us that the sins of the father shall be visited even onto the 7th generation.
Even today the psychiatrists are doing what they call a gene tree, which traces problems back several generations in a family. The problems are usually linked to some aberrant behavior in an ancestor. The Christians would refer to this, as Jesus did, as sin of our ancestors. We can know much about ourselves by knowing our ancestors, they affect us in both positive and negative ways, whether we like it or not.
ANCESTORS AS PART OF OUR DESTINY
The question always arose among the early members, why were we chosen to be a part of this important period of history? It is a question that is asked by many Unification Church members throughout the world.
In recent years, Reverend Moon made a statement, that many of the Unification Church members in the United States are descendants of early Christians in the United States and Europe. This statement gained meaning for me in recent years.
Miss Kim explained that early members were able to easily accept the Divine Principle and Reverend Moon, because of their lineage. We accepted what she said, but knew little about our ancestors. The concept of our ancestry affecting our lives is very well understood in the Orient, but not in the West.
There are many people who hear the Divine Principle, recognize it's importance and accept it. They come along well then are suddenly overcome with negativity. The negativity was not directed against The Divine Principle or Reverend Moon, but themselves. They hated themselves, felt guilt ridden, and accused. Sometimes they were driven by sexual desires and could not accept the mores of the Unification Church, although they recognized the importance of them. These people are torn within themselves between good and evil.
This is often due to their ancestral lineage affecting their lives. The sins of their ancestors directly affect them. Not only are these people a result of their upbringing -- the recipients of an environmental heritage -- which affects their destiny, but they are also recipients of a spiritual heritage, which also deeply affects their lives.
LEARNING ABOUT OUR ANCESTORS
In recent years, I acquired a common affliction that often accompanies old age, becoming interested in genealogy. This interest was aroused in me when I visited cousins on the West Coast who were interested in genealogy. We started to work on our common ancestry. Our success was gratifying, and our ancestry is traced back many generations. This was a result mostly of luck rather than any real great skill in genealogy. The luck was in contacting people who had already compiled important parts of the family genealogy.
Reverend Moon spoke of the importance of working with our families. He even held a big reunion of the Moon family in Korea. Many of them were very distant relatives with little more than the name in common.
The Mormons stress the tracing of ancestors. It is important practice of their religion to trace their family back seven generations and hold a ceremony called the Baptism of the Dead. Their quest of genealogical records has led them to build the largest genealogy library in the world at Salt Lake City, Utah. It is now available to everyone and is a great source of genealogical information. The Mormons have gone to the corners of the earth, to copy any existing genealogical records.
An important practice in the Catholic Church is praying for the souls of relatives that die. This practice has gone on for centuries, and may have been much better understood in earlier Christianity.
We are a result of the genes and spiritual heritage of hundreds of ancestors. These are things that make us each a unique individual. In looking at our ancestors, we find their finger prints on our lives. It is important to know about your ancestors, because of spiritual problems that may arise from them but also we can learn something about ourselves. We also inherit the spiritual legacy of our ancestors. Sometimes we are a mixture of good and evil, torn all our lives. But we also inherit the good they accumulated in a spiritual bank for us, and we are able to be here because of our lineage. What happens when two people with these strong ancestries are blessed in marriage. How powerful the lineage of these second generation children. Could this be part of the reason that religions and families have been so adamant that their children marry within their church.
The following is not given to brag on my ancestors. No matter what our ancestors accomplished, we still have to carry our own weight in this life. The following is used to illustrate just one family's ancestry. Many members of the Unification Church, in tracing their ancestors would find an interesting array of devoted and righteous people. Many of our ancestors did not make it into the history books, because living a righteous life and being a devoted Christians does not necessarily make one known. However, these ancestor's spiritual merit is inherited by us and is often the reason we find ourselves in the Unification Church. We were not necessarily seeking the Unification Church, but find ourselves involved and wondering, "why me Lord?"
In unraveling my ancestral mystery, I learned that many were strong Christians. I am descended from a Pumphrey who arrived in America one of the first boatloads of Quakers that came from England in 1678. He was a part of first major Quaker community in America at Burlington, New Jersey. His grandson was converted to Methodism by one of the first two Methodist missionaries sent to America from England, and he later became the first to take Methodism west of the Allegheny Mountains to Western Pennsylvania in the 1770s. His home was used as a preaching stop on the first Methodist circuit in the area. The well known bishop Francis Asbury visited his home. We only know about him because of research done on early Methodism in Western Pennsylvania. Generations of these early Methodists married within their church community. Many were ministers and married into families of other ministers, thus carrying on a strong Christian tradition, in cultural and spiritual heritage. That is one line on my father's side.
On my mothers side of the family, the ancestors were active in the Church of England, back as early as the 1500s. One ancestor was a well known controversial minister of his day. All this I learned in recent few years. For many years I knew nothing of my ancestors beyond the names of my great grandparents.
My wife Patty's maiden name was Carey. Her father's name was William Calvin Carey, and they are from a long line of ministers. Patty’s brother Bill Carey is a retired Methodist Minister. They are related to William Carey (1761-1834), who formed the English Baptist Missionary Society, and became the first Christian missionary to Calcutta in 1793. He remained and worked in India until his death -- he began as a shoemaker.
These are just a few examples within our family. There are thousands of similar examples within the Unification Church. There would be many more examples among members if their ancestry were traced.
Generally we don't like others talking about who they are descended from, unless of course, you are among a group of genealogists or relatives. But, whether we like it or not we are the product of hundreds of ancestors and carry their genes, receiving their spiritual legacy.
Let us assume two people are in the Unification Church, because of their righteous ancestors. The couple is then blessed, what a strong spiritual heritage their children, the second generation, have. Then go to the next step, the children of second generation blessings, with four strong spiritual lines of ancestors. What a powerful spiritual heritage these young ones will have, and what powerful persons they can grow to be.
OUR ANCESTORS TODAY
In recent years, the barriers between the physical and the spirit worlds were reduced. Our ancestors are under increased pressure to aid in the restoration. They would like very much to just be recognized by their descendants. They want to help us anyway they can, for we are the first fruits of their struggles. Our advancement is also their advancement.
Just think if you were in the spirit world for two or three hundred years, with more than a thousand descendants, and not one descendant knew your name. How important would it be that some descendants just knew your name, and maybe a little bit about your life.
So as we arrive in the Unification Church and wonder, "why me Lord?" You may know that it is not by your work alone that you are a part of this movement but that you are a humble result of many people from the past. People whose lives have been much more difficult than ours. Those whose will and faith was stronger, but who lived in the wrong time in history to enjoy the fruits of their labors. They helped to plant the seed but could not reap the harvest. It is for us today, because of the time, to be a part of that harvest, God`s Restoration of the world. It is because this age that we are able to go into the land of Canaan. Many will only view the land from the distance, like Moses overlooking Canaan. We will perish in the desert that is today’s fallen world, knowing our children and their children will enter into the promised land. Our hope is that our children, God's children, may enter, and we can look back from the spirit world and hope that some of our descendants remember our names.