The Words of the McCarthy Family

Interview with ICC Lecturer Kevin McCarthy

Victoria Clevenger
April 15, 1988
31st ICC in Korea

Rev. Kevin McCarthy

Question: What is your hope for the ministers who go the ICC and hear the Principle lectures?

My hope is that they can begin to reinvestigate their own doctrine from the Principle perspective. For years they've been exposed to different doctrines and different theologies, but never anything quite like the Divine Principle. By hearing it once they're not just going to accept it, but on the other hand, they can't forget it either.

At the end of 1987, when the staff had a little break from doing the conferences, we returned to the United States and visited with the alumni around the country. Most of the ministers were really excited about their trip. But for me, the most inspiring thing was meeting ministers who were still struggling with the Principle. They couldn't let it go. As soon as I met them, we would sit down and start talking as if the conference were still going on. One minister had not been in the door for two minutes when he said, "I just don't understand how you can say John the Baptist failed his mission!" He had been to the conference a whole year before that, and it was still so heavy on his mind.

One reason I like the ministers asking a lot of questions is because I want to give them the Principle answer. Many times their questions are not questions, they're like torpedoes. I want to digest their torpedoes and then come back with the Principle answer in a very humble but powerful way. They've been so used to very easily shooting down other doctrines and sinking them. Now they're starting to realize that this is not an ordinary doctrine they're dealing with. It's such an amazing victory that ministers are listening to the Principle.

When I joined the church in 1972, I thought established Christianity would never understand us or understand Father. Sometimes it was hard to tell which was the main force against us -- the communists or other Christians! But now the original minds of these ministers just can't let the Principle go.

There's been a kind of a gradual spiritual elevation in our conferences over the years. It's as if there's a providence of the conference itself. Each conference has a certain position, a certain historical significance. The spiritual power just keeps building. Now more ministers are coming through referrals. There's enough foundation for them to be able to say, if they get any flack from anyone, "Well, listen, 5,000 ministers have gone, so don't give me a hard time about this!"

I think that what happens at the ICC is a very spiritual thing and that we can't see 90 percent of what is going on. For instance, today during my lecture, there was such a feeling of calm and tranquility, which was striking, especially compared to what took place two days ago [Monday] when the spirit was much more tumultuous.

Question: Why do you think it was like that on Monday?

One reason was that I didn't pray enough in preparation for my lectures. I've had so many situations in other missions where I could pray a quick, three-minute "Heavenly Father be with me" prayer and then the spirit would come and my lecture would go very well. But here, I'm realizing that substantial spiritual preparation--at least two hours of prayer before a presentation--is vital in order to be able to convey the real heart of the Principle and to be able to take the kind of spiritual dominion necessary.

Question: What is the substance of your prayer?

That the forefathers of Christianity can come here and cause the Principle to resonate in the hearts of the ministers. In today's presentation, I clearly felt their presence. It was an uncanny experience for me--it was so peaceful and serene.

Question: What has the experience at Pusan been like for you?

Pusan is always a very significant time. Any minister who is prepared will have some spiritual experience there. I'm always moved to be in Pusan because I feel the link between Father's tearful prayer there and the substantiation of that prayer. We start at the mud but and the Rock of Tears, and then we visit the Tong Il factory. It all makes the ministers really think.

On an external or conscious level, of course, the conference consists of the lectures, but the ministers definitely feel the presence of God, and they recognize that God is blessing Rev. Moon. They feel the spirit of our members, and are moved by their prayer life. They have to consider why they are experiencing God outside of their own doctrinal agenda. They don't have the answer, so they have to think and pray.

Question: You have been involved with the ICC since the beginning. How have you developed over this period?

When we started this conference, we had no idea what we were getting into. For me at least, it was just another mission, another project, and I didn't realize how unbelievably intense and historical it would turn out to be. We always kick the word "historical" around, but this mission really is.

It's amazing how this experience has changed me. I'm grateful. At some point I began to sense Fathers feeling about this conference, that what we're doing now on the world level is what should have happened between 1945 and 1948 in Korea. If I think of the consequences after 1948, when established Christianity didn't unite with Father, then it becomes very clear that there's nothing else I have done in my life in the church that is equal to this in terms of its historical significance and intensity. I feel the presence of God and the presence of the forefathers in the lecture room, sanctifying it. I feel I have incredible support from the spiritual world, as well as pressure on me from God to change as an individual, to clean up my life. This plus Heung Jin Nim's [Black Heung Jin Nim [Cleophas / Cleopas Kundioni] coming and the confession ceremony made 1987 quite a year for me.

The beginning and the middle of 1986 was not a divine experience at all -- it was just hell for me. I felt, "I'm not clean, I'm not straight, I'm not right with God." I felt what it's like to be outside of God's grace, to be outside of God's mercy. A lot of my close friends in the church, and I believe a lot of members as well, had that same kind of feeling. Then from the middle of 1986 to February of 1987, I felt my life change a lot for the better. There was an incredible spiritual presence around me that I have never felt before in my life, exhorting me to change. Before, if I did things that were wrong, I'd just say, "C'est la vie!" and maybe try to do better next time. But suddenly, if I did anything that was not public, I felt I was being poisoned. It wasn't that I just somehow became a better person, but that a spiritual light started hitting me. It wasn't accusation; it was a power to perfect and change myself that came down on me. It was painful and it was terrible, but I knew it was good and I just went with it.

From February of 1987 to the end of the year was a time of incredible prayers and conditions -- separation conditions, cold showers, and the condition of just being in Korea. This is really the place to pray. Whenever I'm in Korea, I feel much more able to pray and have a deeper prayer than I experience in the United States.

When Heung Jin Nim [Black Heung Jin Nim [Cleophas / Cleopas Kundioni] returned and held confessions, I felt, "I've got to confess. It's been building up in me since middle of 1986." But the most meaningful part was what has happened since I left that confession room. I've never had such a long period where I could really say I have consistency and stability in my life. I just can't believe it!

Question: Did your way of lecturing change?

It really did. My great frustration with lecturing has been my inability to deeply share God's heart with the ministers, which is what I always wanted to do. I prayed so much and I paid so much indemnity just to be able to convey God's heart and the heart of Jesus. I realized that the ministers can't understand the heart of God until they can understand human responsibility. If they can understand that, they can begin to realize that God is a sorrowful God, that His heart and Jesus' heart are broken. My whole hope and desire for the next level of the ministers' education is to bring to them an even deeper awareness of God's suffering heart. Also I think our advanced education has to create a focused environment, in which the ministers are not distracted by sightseeing and shopping and can concentrate on the lectures enough to truly experience the depth of God's heart.

Question: One of the things that makes your lectures so powerful is your many quotes from the Bible.

The Bible is a principled document. I used to be a little hard on Paul, but then I had a very deep spiritual experience about six months ago. I felt that the spirit or the consciousness of Paul came to me and said, "Look, I want you to know something. It wasn't my idea to put my letters into the Bible and make them Holy Scripture. I was in prison, and I had brand new Christian members from pagan backgrounds to take care of, and I had to communicate with them. I didn't have a telephone -- I had to write urgent letters. What if your spiritual children kept your letters and that became scripture? What kind of controversy would that create?!" Suddenly I felt so much sympathy for Paul, because he really wants to help us. Paul was trying to take the essence of Jewish thought and articulate it into a new frame of reference. That's exactly what w' have to do today.

Question: Have you had any experiences with Jesus?

I often feel his presence. I had one powerful and profound experience with Jesus in February last year that I felt was very necessary for my growth. While I was praying on a hillside, out of the corner of my eye I could see somebody sitting next to me. But when I looked, there was nobody there. Then these inspirations just started coming into my heart. I felt Jesus was telling me that because he did not fully understand the way of indemnity or Jacob's and Joseph's courses, he did miracles, and he also judged the Pharisees and Sadducees, rather than trying to win their hearts by serving them.

He said that gaining the support of John the Baptist had been his responsibility because John the Baptist was his archangel figure. But Jesus didn't understand how Jacob had melted Esau's heart and gotten Esau to bow down to him; thus he didn't know how to get John the Baptist to bow down to him. So when he tried to make his foundation, he employed methods that were not really the providential way, such as doing miracles. This set up conditions for him to be attacked, and ultimately he lost his body. God wanted him to keep his body and not lose it.

I felt that the reason he didn't know this was because he never had the opportunity to study. Joseph and Mary should have made sure that Jesus got the best traditional education possible and access to the Holy Scriptures, just as Hannah did for her son Samuel. It's clear to us that when Jesus was 12 years old, he wanted to go that way. Jesus wasn't supposed to be a laborer; he was supposed to be a scholar. Father himself had to study providential history; and it was based on his in-depth foundation of study that Father prayed and then discovered God's plan. The purpose of studying scripture is to make a base for full revelation. Jesus never really had that opportunity.

Nevertheless, Jesus knew that he was the Messiah and that Israel should believe in him. But when he started doing miracles and judging the Pharisees and Sadducees instead of loving them unconditionally, Satan could attack him directly. That he couldn't teach his own disciples the providential path of subjugating Satan is evident by the scene in Gethsemane where his disciples slept while he was praying. A real heartistic link was missing there.

When Moses struck the rock twice, that bad condition went through Judaism and found tragic fruition in the one generation that lived with Jesus. Similarly, this bad condition of insufficient understanding passed through Christian history and resulted in established Christianity's inability to receive Father. My whole thinking used to be that Jesus was sorrowful because he could not build the Kingdom of Heaven for God. This is very true of course, but the real essence of Jesus' anguish is that he left behind a condition that would cause his own sheep to not recognize and unite with the Messiah when he returned.

I feel that Father, when he began to teach, had to really comfort and win Jesus' heart. For three years every day, Father shared about the heart of Jesus and shed tears over Jesus' life. And when Jesus' disciples tortured Father and treated him like dirt, Father never accused or judged them. Also, Father never does miracles. If Father wanted to do a miracle, he could, but he doesn't. He just tries to win the people with love. I think because Father made those conditions, Jesus could then easily recognize Father's position and unite with Father. We must ask ourselves who Jesus himself really feels close to.

Father shaking hands with a Japanese journalist who interviewed Father in Danbury.

Question: It sounds like your relationship with True Parents has deepened.

Yes, it has. In the past I was always excited to just sit near Father and hear Father's speeches and feel Father's love. Of course, I always want to see Father, but I'm now thinking more in terms of what I can do to help Father's work. What is Father's purpose and what can I bring to Father? What does Father need me to do? Since becoming involved in this mission I feel I'm more linked to Father in that way, in a more responsible way than when I just wanted to sit at his feet and hear him speak.

If we didn't have the model of true love in front of us, we'd be out there still struggling with the ministers and also with each other. Providentially, established Christianity has created great suffering for True Parents. Father has a right to feel angry, and yet he never feels that way. Even when he went to Danbury he didn't.

The thing I will always remember about Danbury is the day Father received the verdict. As Father was being sentenced (I was in the courtroom at the time), I remember feeling so ashamed of America. I didn't want to stay in this country, and I didn't feel proud to be an American anymore. I felt like saying to Father, "Don't go to Danbury. Let's make another America somewhere else." After the sentence was pronounced, I watched how Father acted. His lawyers were so sad; they couldn't believe they had lost the case. They couldn't look Father in the eye. I could sense they were expecting Father to be really upset with them for losing the case. But Father was only smiling and encouraging them. You could see that these lawyers really admired Father.

When they had been arguing Father's case, they weren't just arguing because they were hired to do it. I saw Father patting one of them on the back and saying, "Don't worry." But the lawyer was feeling so bad that he couldn't even receive such a sentiment.

After the verdict, everyone in Father's entourage started going out the exit, but Father suddenly left them and walked across the courtroom toward the three prosecutors. He put out his hand. The assistant prosecutor mechanically shook hands with Father, but neither of the two main prosecutors would shake hands, although Father stood there smiling warmly with his hand outstretched for quite a while.

The prosecutors uncomfortably looked at each other, then at Father's hand, and then they shuffled some papers.

They obviously didn't know what to do. Finally they left, leaving Father standing there with his hand out. I told a reporter standing with me that he should put that scene in his article, and he said, "Yeah, that was good."

I thought for a long time about why Father did that. It was certainly not for show. I realized that when Father looked at those prosecutors, he knew that their names would always be associated with a very bad feeling. Even though to them they were just doing their job, Father knew that their descendants would be ashamed. He wasn't thinking of his own fate but rather of the prosecutors' intimate lives, their families, and their futures, and he wanted to offer them something they could do -- at least to be able to say, "I shook his hand."

Father's thinking is always, "If people hate me, they aren't my enemy. I just have to love them more. If someone is treating me poorly, I have to bring them into the realm of love." Whenever I am with the ministers I keep a mental image of Father offering his hand to the prosecutors to help me keep my heart right. I think Father could do something like that because he really knows what God is like! 

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