The Words of the Marshall Family
When I was about 15 years old, I used to think about dying. I said that I was not afraid to die but I did not want to die just then because I felt that I had first to do something very important. I thought too that I could not do anything by myself, but if there were a great leader I would be a good follower to him. Later, I began to realize that the doctrines I had learnt from a Roman Catholic upbringing were dead and wasted unless they became part of a living experience of God, but I found that I received no guidance on how to do this -- no realistic understanding of God.
When I felt school I went to Brittany in France for six months. The creation there is extremely beautiful and I noticed a great contrast between the wonder end joy I felt at its great variety and the dead, atmosphere I felt in the local church. Sometimes I experienced a power in the scenery trying to draw me through it to see something deeper, although I did not then realize that this was God speaking through His creation.
When I returned to England, I stayed at university for three years. While I was there I felt that I needed to find a commitment, but it could not be just anything to throw myself into. It had to be the truth and I knew that whatever it might be, it was connected to my experiences with the creation. I began to think what I could do with my life and to look at the different ways of life of the people around me, but in all of them I saw that there was something lacking. Through different experiences Father was showing me that good will and a desire to help others were not sufficient to overcome conflicts between people and build better relationships among men, and I sometimes puzzled over why this conflict should exist.
Once I was walking in the Chiltern Hills, near Henley, in a very isolated spot. It was autumn, and the countryside and villages were wrapped in a smoky grey. Everything was tranquil, as if time had stopped. Suddenly, I felt all around, a great surge of emotion, love and sadness; and a great desire to share this feeling with another person. But I felt too that this love could only be shared by becoming one with someone else. Yet when I tried to express this, the words were like dead weights. God was trying to show me that no matter how close, in human terms, people come together, without him there was always an unbridgeable gap. At the time, though, I did not see this, and felt only a deep sadness and confusion about what had happened.
About a year or so before I left university, I began to see that there was not much time; if I did not find the way soon, I would be swallowed u; in the world and die spiritually. I felt very frightened and depressed for long periods, and at times in the evenings would walk alone in the streets and just cry out, "why?" At last I thought that I would never find what I knew was still there, and resigned myself to a break life. But when I stopped trying to find what I was looking for, for myself, God must have had the opportunity to show it me, for it was just at that time, near Christmas 1969, that Robin Kuhl spoke to me about Principle. I had been at school with him and I went at first to the Center in Streatham out of curiosity to see what he was doing. I found Chapter One very interesting because it drew together in such a clear way ideas I had come across in many different places. The explanation of the Old Testament also was quite remarkable. And I felt from Doris and Dennis, the people, and the atmosphere, that the early Christian Church must have been something like this. But it was only as I heard Chapter Two, and I began to realize the Conclusion, that I was really struck in the heart. After Chapter Twelve was finished, I was shaken right through and left completely speechless but I knew that my whole way of life would be changed. All the questions I thought would never b, answered were now made crystal clear through Principle. There was the Leader whom I thought I could follow, and he was bringing me the task I felt I had to accomplish. I saw that I had come to a clear parting of the ways and that our Leader was the true path if only I had the courage to follow.
I found that courage through the great help of my spiritual father, Robin, all the members of the family, and the spirit which reminded me, for example, that as a boy I had been afraid: that if I lived in Jesus' lifetime, I would have rejected the Messiah as so many others did. Now I felt a great thankfulness that I could prove to Father that I would accept His son. I can only thank Him that He has snatched me up from the grave and given me hope when I thought there was none, and I pray now that I can do something for Him by working to bring that hope to the rest of the world.