The Words of the Quebedeaux Family

What Makes Moonies Different

Richard Quebedeaux
June 29, 1985
Excerpts from Faculty Greetings to the Graduating Seminarians
Unification Theological Seminary

UTS: The class of 1985 with administration and faculty,

When I first came to this Seminary more than seven years ago, it only took me a few hours to see how different you were from most people. I've been to many conferences, and most of the participants of those conferences who come for the first time also quickly discover how different Unificationists are. Let me tell you something, and don't let it go to your head. If you want to make it in your church or in any other church, there is one value that stands above every other it's called humility.

I am quite convinced that you members of the Unification Church have set a new standard of morality for the world. I guess it started with Rev. Moon--what he did from the beginning, the kinds of doctrines he proposed, and the sorts of tests he gave you. But your standard of service and sacrifice, which is basically absent in our Western society today, does something to people. All churches preach that doctrine: service and sacrifice. But it is very hard to find it practiced anywhere. You people really have it, and I don't speak just on my own opinion. I've spoken to hundreds of professors and ministers -- black, white, Hindu, Buddhist, Marxist, atheist, fundamentalist, male, female and they all say the same thing: "You are different; you are so different that it is literally changing me."

You Are Changing People

At a ministers' conference where I spoke recently, one black minister said that the impact of Martin Luther King Jr. was that he was able to change white attitudes. But what you are doing is literally changing the attitudes of everybody you personally come in contact with, by taking the initiative in serving and sacrificing for them in concrete, tangible ways.

That's how you're different.

I suspect it's the Japanese in your movement who are probably the most responsible for setting this kind of standard. Because they have brought to this country something which has been lost in American life: the willingness to work non-stop together for a good cause. You owe them a lot. Many of us Americans are prone to criticize the Japanese for a lot of things, but it is their momentum, their willingness, and their service which is so profoundly a part of who Unificationists are. At the conferences I attend I can't help noticing the testimonies participants give about Unificationists. They call you saints, and praise you for all sorts of things. The people who give those testimonies are mainly the ministers you people have been visiting.

What is it that attracts these ministers? The spirit of service and sacrifice. If someone said to you, "Why are you serving me?" you would say, "Because I like you. Not because I have to, not because I'm obliged to. I want to serve you because you are important, you have value." It's very hard for a person to say no to that when it's persistent. Dr. Durst often says, "Moonies are value-makers and happy-makers." There are no truer words I know.

Don't Leave the Unification Church

So why aren't you all happy and joyful and proud of what you've accomplished? Strangely enough, the people who are the least aware of how powerful they are the ones who are the most powerful. I know some of you became pretty morose at times. You have concluded that all this idealism is a bunch of baloney: "I want to get out and live!" But don't you understand what you're doing? I suspect some of you might be leaving the church this summer, but I want to tell you why I hope you don't leave the Unification Church. Because slowly but surely you are changing things; you're changing people's attitudes. And when you change people's attitudes, you change their hearts. When the heart is changed, the mind follows. I've seen it too often now to say that it is anything other than empirically evident. A behavioral scientist could measure it over the years it's that clear.

One thing I will say before I go on. Your service and sacrifice need to be supplemented by something, and that is -- make it fun. Indemnity is one of those interesting doctrines. I call it restitution. Make indemnity fun -- if you make it fun and enjoy it, then you can do it the rest of your life, and it will rub off on your kids.

"You Did It for Me"

I'm going to read from the Bible, the J.B. Phillips translation.* This is from the gospel of Matthew, the twenty-fifth chapter:

"But when the Son of Man comes in his splendor with all his angels with him, then he will take his seat on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from each other like a shepherd separating sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right: 'Come you who have won my Father's blessing! Take your inheritance -- the kingdom reserved for you since the foundation of the world! For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was lonely and you made me welcome. I was naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you came and looked after me. I was in prison and you came to see me there.

Then the true men and women will answer him: 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you lonely and make you welcome, or see you naked and clothe you, or see you ill or in prison and go to see you?'

And the king will reply, 'I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.'"

[Here, Dr. Quebedeaux took his audience on a hypothetical visit to spirit world, where people whose lives had been touched by Moonies greet them as they enter the spirit world. Each character tells the incoming Moonie how his or her care, service, and love changed their lives and brought them back into a relationship with God: an impoverished storefront preacher, an ex-member and his deprogrammed wife who joined the deprogramming circuit, a gay Episcopal priest fatally stricken with AIDS, a grateful blessed wife, a professor who was fired from UTS when he encouraged disenchanted members to fall. Each of these hypothetical characters tells how their lives had been altered for the better by the Moonie who took responsibility to care for them with unconditional love and sacrifice. Each testimony ends, "And every time I looked in your eyes, the person I saw was Jesus."]

Greater Things than Rev. Moon

When Jesus taught his disciples, he told them they would do greater things than he did. If Rev. Moon were speaking to you today, it would be very much like him to tell you, "You think I've done some big things? Just wait; you're going to do even greater things." The ethics of the high idealism of agape love can never be surpassed. You can never love anybody enough, because love is the one thing you can never get enough of.

I could not make these remarks to anybody but you and have any notion in my mind that they would have the least chance of being fulfilled. However, I've known you long enough to say that if anyone in this world is able to fulfill these hard sayings of Jesus, it's you. And that's why I hope you stay in the Unification Church.

As Unificationism becomes a standard for the world, and I think it will, the lines of demarcation between Unificationists and non-Unificationists will become increasingly less visible, until you won't be able to tell the Moonies from the nonMoonies. Just wait!

Thank you very much.


* The New Testament in Modern English, translated by J.B. Phillips. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1958. 

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