The Words of the Miffleton Family
The Deep Years
February 4, 2002
NOTE: Brothers and sisters -- what follows is a personal testimony of what I experienced while trying to develop God's providence in my hometown. It is a long read and some of you, I'm sure, are too busy to deal with it. I understand completely. But for those who choose to spend some time listening to my story -- I can only thank you in advance. I am in your debt.
"The Deep Years" is a phrase I use to refer to a five-year period of my life -- from 1982 to 1987 -- that was, without a doubt, the most heartfelt I've ever known. It was a special time between God and me. True Father once said that the time he knew God most intimately were the years he was in Hungnam prison -- the time of his worst suffering. You could say those were his "deep years."
For me, though, it occurred about five years after first meeting our Church in 1977. The year 1982 was the time when I truly began to take responsibility for God's providence in a personal way, rather than just being led by others. It was the time I can safely say I became the living embodiment of Father's motto: tears for man, sweat for earth, blood for heaven. All three I poured forth in abundance. It was the time I suffered most profoundly for righteousness sake, and yet knew the love of God most deeply.
It may surprise most of you to know, however, that I had this precious experience some two years after leaving the Unification Church!
Leaving the Church
To better explain the character of the Deep Years, let me offer a little background on the circumstances in which I parted ways with the Unification Church. It wasn't really my intention to leave the church, for I couldn't conceive turning my back on the True Parents. But for reasons I cannot go into here, my spiritual life in the church had declined to the point where I was no longer "among the living." My final year (as a center member in Columbia, South Carolina) was a joke. I was just going through the motions, hanging on to the church because I didn't know what else to do. Not surprisingly, this caused conflicts between myself and others. When one such conflict -- with a brother named Benjamin O'Shea -- evolved to the point of physical violence, I abruptly decided to get out of there.
So on July 31, 1980, unknown to anyone, I boarded a Greyhound bus and left South Carolina. My plan was to visit my folks in Virginia for a few weeks, get some money together, then perhaps go back to Oakland and try to start over. I was desperate.
But I found that once separated from the church, it was not so easy to just "go back." Intuitively, I knew that simply returning to the Unification Church, even in California, would not solve my problems. What's more, I had always taken great pride in my spiritual strength; for at my peak I was a powerhouse -- much stronger than other people my age. How could I crawl back to the Oakland Family and hold my head up, knowing that I had abandoned the mission? It was a terrible dilemma.
The months that followed were depressing. I began to think that Satan had defeated me once and for all. Fortunately for me, however, GOD was not about to let me go so easily. In December 1980, following a chain of unlikely events, I had an awesome life-altering experience with God and His powers of resurrection. In short, I revived completely! It was as if I'd stepped back in time to when I first heard Divine Principle. Dramatically, the dark clouds were driven away and for the first time in years my sense of Purpose returned. Clearly I saw the path before me, in plain sight.
The year 1981 was a time of testing -- for I was tempted by both God and Satan to turn aside from my path. Satan tested me (how else?) with women. All of a sudden, young women began to approach me wherever I went, one after the other, offering love, sex, or what have you. It was a sore trial for an unmarried man like me -- and cut off from the church, too? But by then my feet were firmly planted and I found a way to repel their enticements. Even God tested me, for then I began to receive invitations to return to the Unification Church. Brothers and sisters I'd been close to sent me letters, begging me to reconsider. I even received a phone call from Dr. Durst -- a man I deeply respect -- asking me to meet with him in New York. But for some reason I couldn't begin to fathom, I had to refuse these offers as well.
In December 1981 I did a three-day fast to commemorate the anniversary of my astonishing rebirth experience; in February 1982 I celebrated my 25th birthday -- uniquely cognizant of the fact that Father had launched his public ministry at that age. And indeed, events began to parallel Father's course for me, step by step. I found myself being sundered, as if by a Heavenly Sword, from what had been my past. I quit my job, cut myself off from my family, and became a recluse. Meantime, I studied DP again with renewed intensity, and practically memorized several of Father's speeches in "New Hope."
After a spell of unemployment I found work in a seafood place called Family Fish House, performing duties that amounted to janitorial work: I scrubbed toilets, mopped floors, filtered deep-fat fryers, did light maintenance. Then I rented a small, two room apartment -- for the first time living completely alone.
Strange things began to happen. For example, from the moment I first set foot in the Fish House I started to lose interest in all else -- I couldn't explain that. Then I perceived something unusual about the group of college-age people working there: they seemed "special," as if the whole group had been prepared for God's providence (this kind of thing has happened before in the history of our church). Something heavy was going on, and I knew it.
Called To the Mission
Finally, Heavenly Father called me to the mission. One warm summer evening in August, while I was doing my laundry, I was suddenly enveloped in the golden glow of high spirit-men. God spoke to my heart, telling me (in His wordless fashion), "I want you to pioneer, alone; in Father's tradition and in Onni's tradition. Develop My providence here..."
Instantly, the purpose behind all the manipulations and maneuverings became crystal clear. I recalled that Father had indeed pioneered his mission alone -- utterly alone; Onni too (from whom I was descended) had pioneered Oakland by herself. Why was this kind of thing necessary? According to Father, "Messiahship means overcoming satanic forces alone, without the help of others." It was one of the qualifications for messiahship. Furthermore, I was made to understand that through this mission, I could heal my breach from the church. In other words, if I was successful in developing God's providence in my own hometown, the way would be opened for me to return to the Unification Church with honor.
So in that hour I made my pledge before God: that I would pioneer alone and find my spiritual children -- I would either do this or spend the rest of my life trying. I had no guarantee whatsoever; all I could do was pour out my utmost efforts and trust God to handle everything else. From that fateful night, the Deep Years began.
The first thing to happen was that my heart opened up as never before. A tremendous love welled up inside me, such that I shed many, many, many tears. It was a love, not so much for my brethren in faith, but for the lost -- for those people not fortunate enough to know the love of God and True Parents. I wept bitterly for days, so much that I was nearly incapacitated. There were whole days when I did little but shed tears: it would start in the morning, stop long enough for me to eat lunch, continue all day until supper, then continue late in the night. But I knew that God was shedding His tears through me -- using me as a conduit (really, I'm not that deep). Grievous to God was the loss of His children, and His desire to have them back is difficult to understand. Such a Desire, which He conveyed to me, was miles beyond anything I ever learned in the Unification Church.
So much was happening within me spiritually that I became almost disconnected from my physical self. My body dwelt in this mundane physical reality, but my spirit occupied a different universe altogether. I adopted a theme song for this period, "Garden of Restoration," which Father wrote in Hungnam. It seemed appropriate. To this very day it is difficult for me to sing this song all the way through because of the memories.
But needless to say, wherever God is working Satan is there too. As that hopeful summer faded into autumn I came under a relentless spiritual attack. It was like being plunged to the bottom of an ocean of black ink. Wave upon wave of darkness and despair came upon me, and a great fear was upon me too. Every act, every word was carefully watched by both sides. Even the smallest misstep would plunge me deeper into the abyss of accusation.
Looking back, I can now recognize that I was living the classic missionary life: I had nothing, no possessions to speak of. I lived in a tiny, cockroach infested hovel and ate only the simplest meals --mostly rice and canned veggies. I would rise at 4:00 AM to study Divine Principle several hours before work. Study consisted, at that point, of writing the DP out by hand in a series of notebooks. That first draft took almost a year to complete. At work was where I paid indemnity; being the frontline, that's where Satan always attacked. On most days it felt as though I were being beaten to a bloody pulp. Then I would return to my apartment to nurse the wounds. In the evenings Heavenly Father would visit and we would comfort one another, shedding many deep tears as One. That was the essential content of my life for five long years.
Three Great Conditions
Work was a battlefield where a desperate struggle between myself and Satan raged on. In the balance hung the lives of my friends (or so I believed). The best way to demonstrate this is to tell the story of the three great conditions I had to set up. The first began in December 1982, the next two were carried out in two consecutive years.
The focus of the struggle, of course, was LOVE. For I was surrounded by a host of the opposite sex. Great brotherly love I felt toward them and I was there, after all, to advance God's love. But that is also how Satan tried to undermine me, just as he undermined Adam long ago. There was always one particular Eve in the center, as well. Back and forth we went -- sometimes Satan would wax and I would wane, sometimes vice-versa.
Finally, on December 18, 1982, I went into work that evening and suffered a vicious attack by satanic powers. The whole place seemed possessed -- evil spirits were having a field day. All I could do was suffer in silence and humiliation. When at last I managed to crawl away from there I knew that I had to respond. So I set up a 40-day condition of silence and separation. Under no circumstances, for the duration of the condition, would I have any give and take with a female colleague (other than the necessary and unavoidable, of course). For the first time, then, I was on the offensive! Where before I had been as friendly as chance allowed, now I became ice cold, and hard as a piece of iron.
The reaction of my female associates, as you might imagine, ranged from hostility and ridicule to abject begging and pleading. But most often during the 40 days I had to silently endure one humiliation after another. It was probably the most miserable six weeks of my life. And God pretty much abandoned me during that time. I had no choice but to complete the 40 days using just my own willpower. It was a mighty feat, and in late January 1983 the condition was finished.
Just a few days after it was over I had this amazing encounter: I was in the Laundromat one morning (unusual things always seemed to happen there) waiting for my clothes to dry when one of our Family members -- a Japanese sister -- came in fundraising. I immediately went to talk to her. After giving her the few dollars I had on me, I pointed to her Blessing ring and asked, "Unification Church?"
"How do you know Unification Church?" she said. After explaining to her that I was a member on a pioneering mission we talked for a few minutes. She asked me if I'd been to the Blessing in New York. "No," I said, "I sacrificed the Blessing." She went on to say that such was not Father's desire, etc. Then she smiled and said, "So... you're like Jesus, yes? Staying single..." Finally, she gave me a copy of Father's speech she was carrying around with her and we said farewell.
As inspired as I was by that "chance" meeting, I had to seriously consider the possibility that I really would wind up like Jesus: dying alone in a hopeless cause, unmarried, unblessed, abandoned even by God. Many times I just wanted to quit. I realized that I had three options: 1) I could simply revert back to the fallen world; 2) I could abandon this crazy mission and go running back to the church; or 3) I could carry on and hope against hope. Of the three, though, my only real choice was #3 -- even though it brought me untold suffering.
In the aftermath of the 40 day condition I noticed a considerable brightening of the spiritual atmosphere -- and once I took the offensive, I never really forsook it. But by late autumn of that year the duel between Satan and me heated up again. In fact, it intensified to the point where, much to my chagrin, I was compelled to carry out a second condition. This time it was for 80 days (or two 40-day conditions back to back). It was about the last thing I wanted to do, but there was no other way to avoid satanic invasion. It was a Monday when I decided to do the separation, and I went home that day dreading what I knew was coming.
At that point, however, God gave me a sign: the next day, a Tuesday, I was off from work. I spent the whole day working on a new, revised draft of Divine Principle. And all that day I felt like I was on FIRE -- like I had 10,000 volts of electricity running through me. God's love was coursing through every cell of my body; it was like being high on cocaine or something. Obviously, I'd made the right decision.
If the 40-day condition I'd done the previous year was horrendous, it was child's play compared to the second installment -- the 80-day condition was brutal. Satanic spirit world mobilized to taunt, harass, and humiliate me at every turn. Every day was sheer agony. And it was seemingly endless... it might well have been 80 weeks, 80 months, or 80 years. During that long tunnel of indemnity I found myself even looking forward to death. "How can I keep going like this?" I would ask myself. And I would long for old age and death so that the suffering would end.
As before, God turned His face away from me for the duration, but I knew His heart was with me. I tried not to shed tears during that time, much like Father not wanting to shed tears in Hungnam. When the condition finally ended in early 1984, there were a lot of strained relations and hard feelings at work, but I emerged much stronger. It had now been nearly two years since I began the search for spiritual children; and far from winning friends and building influence, all I seemed to do was piss people off! But I was locked in a violent struggle with Satan, who is loth to let anybody go. People were getting hurt -- even me. Even me.
There were only two things I knew for sure: 1) the result, when it came, would appear at the Fish House, for that was the mission field; and 2) it would come without my seeking it. What was required of me was self-denial -- absolute self-denial. And according to Principle, when I finally became the perfect plus, the perfect minus would appear. I knew I was looking for someone, but so long as Satan opposed me that person would not appear.
By this time I was a subscriber to the Unification News, and that way kept up with all the latest events in the church -- especially Father's legal battle against those tax charges. Even without being biased (I admit it, I am), it was not too hard to see a case of blatant government persecution, using the IRS as an attack dog. In the spring of that year the Supreme Court refused to consider his appeal, clearing the way for his imprisonment. A couple days after the Supreme Court decision I had this confrontation:
Came home from work one afternoon and was trying to take a short nap. I was awakened by the sound of some commotion going on outside my apartment building. Looked out the window and I saw two bikers, one of whom was arguing with this old woman. The other wasn't paying them any mind. I don't know what they were arguing about, but it turned nasty when the biker spat in the old woman's face. The woman slapped the biker and he punched her, knocking her down. In an instant, having more courage than good sense, I was out the door and on my way to help. The biker was beating up the old woman when I pulled him off of her and subdued him (the guy was smaller than me). But then his buddy jumped in and started pounding me. I was no match for the two of them together, of course, and they proceeded to beat the shit out of me. But at least the old woman managed to escape. Later, as I inspected my wounds I noticed that all the bruises were on the right side of my body. I always believed that assault was indemnity for the US government daring to lock up True Father.
Physical injuries heal quickly enough -- not so spiritual ones, especially when they involve matters of the heart. No matter how much love you have, if Satan accuses it -- you're lost. Such was the situation of Abraham and his son Isaac. Satan accused him of loving Isaac more than God's Will. Similarly, Satan accused me of loving one of my closest friends -- a young lady I will not name -- and putting her before God. What does Father say? He says, "To accomplish the Will I do not avoid the path of sacrifice, no matter what sacrifice may have to be made." It's ruthless in a way. But like Abraham of old, I had no alternative but to sacrifice my "Isaac."
I was extremely reluctant to do it, but on November 1, 1984, I began what turned out to be the third of the three conditions -- this one being 120 days (or three 40-day conditions back to back). I knew very well that such a condition would destroy our friendship once and for all (the 80-day condition had strained it severely). How can I describe what it felt like to do this? It was like my guts were being ripped out, like I was being torn in half. In that hour, I learned precisely how Abraham felt when he had to put his own son on the altar. But in Abraham's case at least Isaac was spared in the end. I was not so fortunate.
With all these bitter thoughts swirling around in my head, I marched home from work that day and sat down in my "brooding" chair. But in the midst of my grief-stricken tears I suddenly noticed a Presence in my room: there stood the True Parents in spirit, watching me with deep empathy! And they were surrounded by a host of high-level spirits; indeed, it felt as though the ancestry of the entire Korean nation was right there in my apartment. I had, of course, shed many tears in the past, but it had never been as powerful as this.
I think that I've never known a greater sorrow than the 120-day condition. As before, Satan was relentless and particularly cruel in the ways I was tormented. Carrying a heavy cross, stained with my own blood, people's words and actions were like blunt instruments of death. It required all my willpower to endure those four months. But compared to the first two conditions, the third had one major difference: I had several direct encounters with God. For example, let me tell you about what I can only call The Experience:
It was a bitterly cold winter night. After dinner I had left the oven door open in the kitchen to try to get some more heat in the place. I put on one of my favorite records -- Utopia's Oops! Wrong Planet -- and sat in the kitchen by the stove, wrapped in a blanket. As the music played in the background I pondered all the recent heart-wrenching events, and soon I was in tears again. But in the midst of it "something" came over me... like an enormous Spirit descending from above. The spiritual atmosphere was shaking and rippling, as if underneath the blades of a helicopter, and my body began to heave with great spasms of GRIEF! The tears were then flowing uncontrollably, in endless streams, and my spirit seemed to rise up out of my body. I was looking at my physical self from above as it rocked and convulsed. After an hour or so it passed.
I never had to do another condition of separation after the 120-days. But by then it hardly mattered -- I was effectively ostracized from everyone. Even if there were issues in the endless tug-of-war of love, I now stood on a foundation of having subjugated Satan three times through six 40-day conditions. From that time I became a historical victor, and could not be invaded so easily. My spiritual life began to soar as never before, and all that summer I had dreams of True Parents -- even True Children. The remainder of 1985 and all of 1986 was a period of constant, steady growth. Although I maintained a vibrant prayer life and studied continuously, I was really starting to wonder where all this was going to lead.
By 1987 rumors had begun to circulate among my colleagues that I was some sort of religious freak, vaguely associated with a "cult." Apparently, someone had a brother who had known me before the church (back in my hippie daze) and knew that I had joined the Unification Church in California. When questions were asked, I took the opportunity to explain, to selected individuals, just who I was: a disciple of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
Among the people I witnessed to -- or at least openly discussed what I was about -- was a thirty-three year old divorcee named Mary. Mary had six-month old twin girls, and although I didn't realize it at the time, was indeed that someone I had been searching for.
By the spring of 1987 the Deep Years were coming to a close. I finally moved out of that hole-in-the-wall apartment and into a better place. Instead of walking I was now driving a beat-up '79 Mustang. Even my job at the Fish House came to an end when the place went bankrupt and I was forced to seek employment elsewhere.
But Mary and I had become friends, and when I told her about my new apartment that had virtually no furniture she offered me a set of end-tables she wasn't using. One night I drove to her house to pick them up. As I sat in her living room while she pulled the tables out of a closet, I saw for the first time her twins -- then about twelve months old. I was amazed by these precious little girls -- immaculately clean and smartly dressed. Within minutes Jacquita and Jacqualin were climbing all over me, pulling my hair, poking my eyes, grabbing my ears. And these babies seemed to have a GLOW about them, as if Heaven itself was smiling on them.
I think it's safe to say that the twins adopted me as a parent from that time, and no one noticed it more than their mother. I myself was not thinking along those lines at all; I was simply being of service to them. For more than a year I continued to assist Mary and her girls whenever I could, all the while oblivious to what was really happening: we were becoming a family.
The story of how our family came together and why I agreed to marry apart from the church, without the Blessing, is another long and complicated tale. Suffice it to say it was God's Desire. God loved me and wanted to ease my sorrows, but more importantly, all those years of suffering and indemnity, all the blood, sweat, and tears, was for the purpose of raising up a bride. That's how God's providence works.
I don't mean to sound as though I'm putting myself up on a pedestal. For after the Deep Years there came four years of doubt and near-aimless drifting. My unerring sense of Purpose was obscured for a while. The truth is, I was deeply scarred by the sacrifices and heartaches of those hard times. God did all that He could, but Satan is a terrible enemy. I did not emerge from the contest unscathed.
I was victorious, however. The reason for that long, bitter struggle over love was, of course, to indemnify the fall of man. It was also the condition by which I was able to restore my bride -- who is at the same time my spiritual daughter. Indeed, one reason why I treasure my wife above all others is because of the suffering I endured to win her.
Recently I attempted to debate Robert Gordon (Batbob 007) in his assertion that the DP explanation of the fall was erroneous. He scoffed at my observation that self-centered love was the core evil that motivated the fall. Nevertheless, from the struggles of the Deep Years I gained a profound understanding of Satan's power over men and women -- which is beyond mere sex -- and how it can be subjugated. Well, what's written in the DP is true, even if it is just an outline.
In 1991, after four years of aimlessness and mental confusion, I finally snapped out of it and renewed my vertical efforts for God. The pressing problem now before me: how to re-establish ties to the HSA-UWC. Of course, it was always as simple as picking up a telephone; but I was no ordinary member on an extended holiday! Like everything else, it had to come on its own -- without my seeking it. It seemed impossible.
The following year Heavenly Father gave me this penetrating insight: that I was, in fact, in the twelfth year of a 21-year course -- something similar to Jacob's course. Thus, my return to the Unification Church would most likely occur by 2000 or 2001 (it began in 1980, shortly before my departure from South Carolina). I steeled myself then to complete the course.
In April of 2000 -- two years ago -- the impossible became reality: it was my good fortune and delight to, at long last, re-establish contact with our Family. Shortly thereafter, Mary and I were offered the Blessing. That long-awaited event occurred on June 18, 2000, at my friend Edwin Pierson's house (thank you again, Edwin). And thank you all for spending this time with me. I hope you will forgive my feeble attempt to describe what was, after all, beyond words.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents