The Words of the Marshall Family

Here I Stand

Michael Marshall
June 12, 2010

I guess you are asking me for my 'Here I Stand' statement. And I will offer it.

Please be clear that I am not offering here all the reasons, evidence, and experiences that have brought me to where I now stand. This is just a statement of the convictions at which I have arrived.

Since last fall I have been wrestling internally with these issues. I have felt the dismay, disillusionment, and disgust that Franco said had been experienced by Canadian members. I have been a member for 40 years and a blessed central family for 32. I have felt anger fearing that the vision I believed in and committed my life to, -- One Family under God, One World of the Heart, achieved by the harsh and challenging practice of loving one's enemy -- might prove to be a mirage, dissolved in struggles for power and position no different at all from the fallen world we were supposed to rise above and then turn to and show a path of deliverance.

I did not want my life commitment to end that way and so prayed and reflected more deeply. We all work with a set of experiences, some shared, some unique to us as individuals. I was in a position where I talked periodically to people involved in the UCI [Unification Church International], Washington Times, and Times Aviation, and that informed my understanding. My wife is an early Korean member with many contacts going way back and I learned things from several of them through her.

I also learned some internal things relating to the True Family. Some of them made me weep and weep and I cannot but believe that God was weeping too. Do not judge anyone in the True Family unless you know, with absolute conviction, that you are seeing them through God's eyes and with His heart. If you judge glibly, or superficially, or legalistically, you will be judged in turn in your heart with the same suffering borne in heart by the member of the True Family that you judged. Are you sure you can bear that?

In the course of a couple of months during the winter I found that two thoughts kept rising again and again in my mind. As the internal conflict deepened and I learned of new incidents, each of them worse than the last, the thought that floated into consciousness over and over was, 'this is a form of madness, this is a form of madness.' And I have come to believe that God is judging the heart of the Unification Movement and of Unification members by allowing it and them to be afflicted in this way, so as to reveal our hearts' relationship to the heart of God and to the Heart of True Parents.

But at the time I was faced with challenge of where I could stand if the Unification movement was going insane. I prayed and struggled. Either my life has been a terrible mistake for 40 years, or ... or what? After a time the words of Father kept rising up in my mind, and I realized that they were the only foundation left upon which I could stand: " Your conscience is closer to you than your teacher, than your parents, even than God; your conscience is closer to you than your teacher, than your parents, even than God" -- like that.

Having been stripped down to that core conviction I moved forward and started to think about what I was seeing and learning. These are the convictions I arrived at -- again, just my convictions, not the path of evidence and experience that led me to them.

I believe that Hyun Jin Nim has been seriously wronged. He has been lied about consistently and I know for a fact that the people uttering at least some of those lies understood that they were false but said them anyhow because of the damage they would do. I see him attacked continually, vindictively, and mercilessly. People, and I include Rev. [Dong Mo] Shin among them, who were in a position where their responsibility was to help resolve any issues arising within the True Family instead did the opposite. By their heartless public attacks on Hyun Jin Nim, they deepened the divisions and made reconciliation so much more difficult.

I believe that some of the wrongs done to Hyun Jin Nim amount to crimes of the heart and crimes against heaven. Yet people are baying for his blood, treating him like a rabid dog threatening the neighborhood that they want to drive out with curses and kicks and sticks. Yet these same people ignore the crimes of the heart committed against him. Hyun Jin Nim has a deep and beautiful heart which those stoning him would see if they just opened their hands.

Seeing this I made a pledge before heaven that I will be a defender of Hyun Jin Nim from these wrongs. I do not believe that Hyun Jin Nim is perfect that he cannot make mistakes. But any mistakes he might have made pale before the fundamental wrongs done to him and to heaven. These must be addressed and corrected first before there can be any hope of resolution within the Unification movement and the True Family.

So I will continue to be his defender as long as I see him as "a man more sinned against than sinning." Right now the balance is hopelessly weighted down on the sinned against side.

The other major conviction on which I stand and that informs me is that Father did not come to build another church. He came to create the Kingdom of God on Earth, where all people could join together as one family under God, living in one world of the heart. In that world there would be no need for religion, or for prayer, (quite apart from lawyers and judges also being made redundant).

I was raised Catholic and was very familiar with the doctrine 'no salvation outside the Church.' I came to believe that was not true, and I believe that it is no more true of the Unification church. I believe there never should have been a Unification church. It only existed because of the failure of Christianity in its responsibilities and was created to play a transitional, restorational role, indemnifying Christianity. Both the need for the church, and the standards followed have changed from that period now that we have entered the Age after the Coming of Heaven.

I do not believe there is an absolute providential need for a church at this time. However, given the level of development of Father's work and the substantial foundation of Cheon Il Guk at this time I can see that a church institution can play a practical role in expanding that foundation.

But let's be clear. Its only providential justification is what it can contribute to expanding the substantial foundation of Cheon Il Guk. It has to be ready, in accordance with Father's teaching and example over many decades, to sacrifice itself for the sake of world restoration.

I currently see an institution focused on preserving itself, and compounding that departure from Father's teaching by using attacks on someone who stands in the stem of the true lineage -- the core and heart of restoration that God suffered for throughout history -- as a means to further solidify its self-preservation. True Parents, True Family, and the True Lineage has infinitely greater value than a church institution. Someone who doesn't understand that, doesn't understand the essence of the Principle. People may try to kick Hyun Jin Nim out of the church but that is just laughable nonsense. No-one can kick him out of the true lineage not even True Parents, and certainly not church leaders and members.

I do not believe that God can work through the Unification Church in its present spiritual state. It is not practicing at its highest levels the restorational principle of 'loving your enemy' and is presently acting to deepen the divisions that exist within it rather than restore them. In this state it is useless as an instrument for world restoration as it is incapable of leading the restoration of all the historical divisions that exist in the world on religious, ethnic, social and cultural lines. To do this requires the practice of loving your enemy to a sacrificial degree. There is no hope of achieving this without, if we cannot first do it within.

If I come to the conclusion that the Unification Church is incapable of reversing its internal division within my lifetime I shall dissociate myself from it. I already consider my core spiritual identity to be that of a Blessed Central Family {BCF], part of a global community of Blessed Central Families from all faith traditions: Catholic BCFs, Protestant BCFs, Jewish BCFs, Moslem BCFs, Buddhist BCFs, Hindu BCFs, Unificationist BCFs etc.

I believe that because of the sorry state of the Unification Church, True Father's legacy is threatened. He could come to be known as the eccentric founder of a minority sect, riven by internal quarrels that it addressed by turning itself into some version of the Catholic Church of past centuries.

I want to do something to preserve and expand Father's legacy in the world so that he can be truly known as God's chosen one sent to sow the seed of God's original heart among men so that it could grow and drive out evil. One of the happiest days of my life in the church was when Father announced the extension of the Blessing to people of all faith traditions, an act of true Messianic greatness that demonstrated God's embracing love to all the world.

I want to do something that can bear witness to that heart of universal love I saw and marveled at in Father, and the best thing I have found is the work of GPF [Global Peace Festival], so I have associated myself with that work. The GPF work is animated by Hyun Jin Nim's ownership in his own heart of that remarkable aspect of Father's heart (each of the True Children, after all, expresses some unique facet of Father).

Every morning, Hyun Jin Nim reads Father's Peace Messages at Hoon Dok Hae. When he talks about those messages I don't find myself persuaded. Rather I find myself thinking, 'Yes, that is exactly how I understand Father's words.' So I feel again in a renewed way the living power of Father's words and find myself in a position where I can help expand his legacy built upon his words. Why would I be anywhere else?

Yours on the thorny path of restoration,

A couple of additional notes:

I don't believe that Hyun Jin Nim is trying to take over the leadership of the Unification Church. And my personal advice to him is to leave the Unification Church to focus on its own issues and concentrate on the positive work of GPF which is truly reaching out to the world. I've also reached the painful conclusion that the animosity towards Hyun Jin Nim is so intense in parts of the Unification Church that there would still be efforts directed from the church to undermine and destroy the work of GPF.

To me this would be an act of senseless and gratuitous destruction. And of course I may be wrong; I hope so. But the spirit needed as the seed for such a thing to happen is alive and well in the Unification Church, and I have witnessed it. 

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