The Words of the Kovic Family

Life In The Unification Church Part 4 - A Wedding At Madison Square Garden

James W. Kovic
December 2007

Just to let you know, I will tell you about Ocean Challenge. It's just that the story I'm about to tell you now took place before I was officially inducted onto The MFT so I went off on a tangent back three years to tell you all about what I did in Master Marine. So, what will follow after this story will probably be the one about Ocean Challenge. And you don't want to miss that one.

So, here, we'll start the article off with a nice photo. Look at this photo. I mean, look carefully. This is something you must really look at for a few moments, digest it, question it and get a feeling for what is going on here. This is a photo of the Unification Church wedding, or Blessing as we called it, of 2,075 couples. This wedding took place inside the Madison Square Garden Arena on July 1, 1982.

Actually, a lot of what happened during this time has been chronicled in my forthcoming sequel to "Tamara's Journey: The Purging Of A Tyrant" in a dream sequence that Michiko Tanaka…. oops, I'm giving the plot away. Oh, what the heck. You see, in "Tamara's Journey: Integration Of Power" (working title) Michiko and John have an argument. I know, I know; how could that happen to such a nice couple? Well, I realized as I was editing the first book that the relationship between these two was a little too perfect so in the sequel they fall into a little lover's spat. Anyway, they eventually make up and things are nice and cozy between them again but in the back of Michiko's mind all this time is the fact that she has always felt responsible for this pain that John went through when she left the Unification Church as a result of that ruse that Dr. Seiko created so that her marriage wouldn't interfere with her mission as Sukahara. So this is in the back of her head, deep in her psyche as she falls asleep after a good massage that John gives her. And in this dream sequence she inadvertently (or purposely) goes back in time to live through those few days that she spent with John when she is first matched to him in New York.

So, you've gotten a little hint of what's going to happen in my sequel. Actually I'm almost done with it at this writing. In fact, about three months after finishing writing "The Purging Of A Tyrant" I just couldn't wait to continue the story. I planned it that way early on in the story. Remember when Tamara's sitting in front of the past life viewer with Pana Mae, her guide for the past life review close by? She explains to Tamara that her review will be delineated into three parts, 1) The Purging, 2) Integration and 3) Dissemination. So, you see, you don't have to look too far to see that I had this sequel business thought about as I was writing the first book. And that's also an incentive to those of you who haven't read my first book yet to get a copy.

So, back to that photo of the 1982 Blessing. There are 4,150 people there. The men wearing dark blue suits and the women wearing the traditional white wedding gowns all lined up so stoically. This photo is actually very profound. Actually it is my belief that up until 1985 Reverend Moon was really The Lord Of The Second Advent, The Messiah come to Earth to fulfill and continue the mission of Jesus. But something happened to him. In some manner or another he fell off his horse and failed his mission. I'm not going to go into that now but it has to do with the fact that I believe that he withheld a lot of information which Jesus told him during his experience with him from the years after he first met him in 1936.

So what's going on in the Unification Church, The Moonies, that all of these young people from good homes, stellar education and with such great potential would give all of that up to follow one man and his visions and dreams of building The Kingdom Of Heaven On Earth?

It's not an easy question to answer. There are a lot of factors involved. The main thing I suppose is the fact that Sun Myung Moon was chosen by God to carry on the flame of True Love that Jesus first taught about 2000 years ago. So many people were already looking toward the east for wisdom during the 1960's. We had many teachers come from India teaching us Transcendental Yoga and we had the Dalai Lama of Tibetian Buddhism bringing us so much wisdom. And now there is a man from Korea bringing an even more profound teaching. If you ever have the opportunity to read The Divine Principle you should. I recommend you to go to the web site where you can download the pdf version of it or you can listen to Reverend Kevin McCarthy give a video lecture at where you can find his lecture as well as other church lecturers there.

Again, I no longer consider myself a member of the Unification Church. But I neither condone it nor condemn its teachings or Reverend Moon himself. I'm deeply grateful for the experience I had while a member for over 25 years of my life and for the wisdom that was shared with me during that period. However, I made a decision in 1995 that I needed more understanding than what I could receive from Reverend Moon's teachings and so I disassociated myself from the church then. But it's through these series of articles that, I guess I'm trying to come to terms with and express to you what I went through back then.

So, rather than try to explain what the church teaches which you can find out about at the web sites I've referred you to I'll continue what I've been doing and what I'm much better at doing: telling you my personal story.

So, by 1982 we were really getting good at the boat building business at the East Sun Building. Things got so organized that they didn't need as big a crew as they started out with. As a result and do to fledgling financial concerns, most of us were assigned to raise money through fundraising in the Metropolitan area and abroad in other states. The winter of 1981 was interesting. For instance, me and a good friend of mine, Joseph Vella sold ankle warmers for women during the cold months and in the spring we sold cheap umbrellas on the city sidewalks and tried not to get caught by the roving street selling police.

But come June something was in the air. There had already been a previous Unification Church matching back in December of 1981. Now the rumors were floating around, more verifiable rumors, mind you, of a Blessing, a mass wedding that would take place right here in New York City at Madison Square Garden.

One night on June 1st 1982 I had the strangest dream. It took place in the home I grew up in Massapequa on Long Island. I was there with my father and a Japanese woman whom I've never met before. We were brought together before Reverend Moon. Then suddenly he places his hand on her head and she disappears sinking into the floor. For some reason or another I got a pen and my journal which I religiously recorded my thoughts and I wrote down everything that happened in the dream and put it away never looking at it again.

It seemed that July 1st was the day that everybody was preparing for. So, Mr. Kamiyama, you know that Japanese leader I told you about before. All of the Master Marine members were under his leadership at the time and so he had all of us come to his office on the fourth floor of the World Mission Center, formally the old New Yorker Hotel so that we all could be measured for dress suits. Then within a couple of weeks we got our suits back. They were beautifully tailored suits, not the finest material of course but we looked good.

Things were moving so fast now. I had only been in the Unification Church now for three years and now I was getting ready to get married? But to whom? Well, I would find out at the Matching Ceremony.

All that I know is that it was the last week of June when the date of the Matching was set. I didn't know what was going to happen or how it would change me once it was over. All that I knew was that I was in this big room with thousands of other men and women and it was stifling hot.

There is a Grand Ballroom in what used to be The New Yorker Hotel that probably held some pretty cool parties back in it's hey day in the 30's and 40's. But all of those wild parties and dances were just about to be eclipsed by one of the strangest things to take place in modern society. Arranged marriages for a mass wedding of 2075 couples.

Arranged marriages is nothing new but it is in America. Actually my grandparents were arranged in marriage as was the custom in Croatia in 1919 and centuries before.

After waiting outside of the Grand Ballroom for at least an hour, the doors opened and we all started streaming in through the metal detector that became a common sight in the late seventies. It was a fact that Reverend Moon, because of the controversial nature of his teachings and his organization had received many threats against his life. When I got as far as I could go I took my place in a prayer position while sitting on my legs with my head bowed in prayer.

The Grand Ballroom had just been refurbished as well as the front lobby and the first couple of floors of the World Mission Center as it was called now. Up in front were two phoenixes flanking the Unification Church symbol, a circle depicting give and take action or The Eternal World Of Cause surrounding the symbol of The Rising Sun in The East. It was absolutely glorious as I looked up after a brief prayer of thanks to God.

Just then, I heard a murmuring from the rear of the ballroom. There was a large group of members who had just arrived from Japan and room needed to be made for them. They were all women. We were asked to make room for them by Neil Salonen, the moderator of the event. So we all stood up and shifted up toward the stage.

Then they all started coming in. Hundreds of female Japanese members. Being a member of the Unification Church you quickly became familiar with the presence of many members from Japan. Once when my dad took me on trips to the city from our home on Long Island I would see Japanese tourist with their cameras gawking at the tall buildings with this innocence and exuberance you rarely see anymore. I had never known a person from Japan before. I had never even met anyone who wasn't a white Caucasian originally from Europe until I left home. Though in my high school there were three or four African American students, one of whom I dated when I was 16.

The ballroom was packed. There was a sea of men and women divided by a central aisle for Reverend Moon to walk up and down as he picked out couples to match together. After some brief but important instructions given to us by Neil Salonen, the matching officially began.

Reverend Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han were seated in front to the left of center stage with their heads bowed. This was a solemn event that the two of them were prayerfully preparing themselves for. Then Reverend Moon got up and with the help of his English translator, Bo Hi Pak he began his work.

It's one thing for someone whose a member of the Unification Church that you've met to tell you about going through this matching ceremony. It's clearly another to be in there playing a part in it. I mean, how does he do it. Why does he do it?

At the time, Sun Myung Moon had just turned 60 a few months earlier. But he was going back and forth along this aisle between all of these men and women matching up pairs like pairs of socks. It was absolutely mind boggling. What you need to understand is the fact that as a religious leader, Reverend Moon is very intuitive and he has spent years studying people, their faces and their bodies. There's actually a lot that you can see in a person's body if you take the time to carefully observe and be sensitive to the subtle signals coming from all of your senses, especially your higher intuitive ones. But more than that, Reverend Moon, as is usually the case for any deeply spiritual religious person, has absolute trust and faith in God to work through him. That's what enables him to have the energy and the stamina to do this for many hours while maintaining his intuitive faculties.

But of course, Reverend Moon not only relies on his intuitive connection with The Almighty but upon his assistants. Bo Hi Pak is very instrumental because of Reverend Moon's inability to speak fluent English. Reverend Moon would proceed through the matching in a very organized fashion. Usually he would have Unification Theological Seminary Graduates be first in line for matches. Then when they were all matched I heard Bo Hi Pak call out, "Father is going to match western brothers to Japanese sisters next. All those brothers who…" And then he would pause as he received a correction from Reverend Moon. "Correction…all American men who want Japanese wives, please step forward."

It was 1:30 in the morning at this point. I was tired from standing on my feet. So many times I had been tempted to sit down and rest but then I felt that if I did then I might miss something. So I endured. But something occurred to me when he made that announcement. I don't know. I thought I had a dream about a month ago. What was it about. Something to do with a Japanese woman in my home. Oh, I couldn't remember. All that I knew was it was late and I didn't want to wait any longer. But, is this what I'm supposed to do? What do I want. Do I want a Japanese wife. Certainly, if I go up to the front of the line making myself visible to Reverend Moon the chances are good that I'm going to get one. Is this what I want or do I just want to escape this stifling air?

I wasn't sure what I wanted but I made my way up to the center aisle. There I was, three quarters of the way down from the stage. Reverend Moon had already begun his rapid fire matching of American men to Japanese women. It was so cool. It was absolutely surreal. But as I stood there I realized that I was closer to the inevitable than ever now. What do I want? What kind of attitude do I have as I'm waiting here in line with these other men waiting for the Lord Of The Second Advent to match me to my bride, a woman whom I'll spend the rest of my life with?

I was clueless and hopeless. That was when I started praying silently within my heart. "God, I don't know what I want out of this. But I took the initiative to be here on the front line as Father matches us men to these Japanese women. Please guide me. I empty myself of all expectations so that your will can be done."

At that moment Reverend Moon was walking briskly and now five feet in front of me closing in fast. Then he grabs me by the lapels of my suit jacket and pulls me out of line. Not six feet in front of me on the opposite side was a woman about 5 feet 6 inches tall, dark hair cut just hanging above her shoulders. She had beautiful eyes. They were of course very dark eyes but the way they were arrange on her face was startling. The beauty of her face was rather simple yet there was something that I felt for a brief moment as I stood there in front of her. This chasm that would have swallowed me if it could. At that moment I felt I was falling, feeling almost gripped by fear but then looking again at her eyes as she smiled as the sun shone again, saving me.

I don't really think I remember what I was thinking or feeling at that very moment. But that's what came to me as I was writing this part of the article. You see, writing for me can be a very spiritual experience. It's a medium with which I can literally go back in time as I access my akashic records -- those memories that are permanently stored in your human energy field from this and countless other lifetimes -- and recall all that I've been through. There are people who are clairaudient, clairsentient and clairvoyant. I'm a writer.

After this woman and I were so dramatically introduced, the protocol for newly matched couples in the Unification Church is to approach the two chairs that Reverend and Mrs. Moon, True Parents, sit in and do one full bow to the floor expressing gratitude to God through them for being chosen to participate in the Blessing of Marriage. When Unification Church members perform this formal bow to True Parents it's not laying prostrate as priests are when they take their vows in the Catholic Church but it is still very humbling and honorable just the same.

As this woman and I ascended the spiral staircase to the upper level of the Grand Ballroom the thought occurred to me that we still haven't introduced ourselves to each other. It was certainly an understatement that we were still quite dazed at what had just happened to us just a moment ago. I looked over to her. Her head was bowed, her eyes on the carpeted steps as she mindfully scaled the stairs. She sensed almost immediately that I was looking at her. I was slightly walking in front of her and then I slowed my pace to align myself with hers. I could see her eyes still lowered to the floor but now daring to look my way but still downward.

"What is your name?"

Pain entered her eyes as she looked at me realizing she wasn't able to answer me in my language although she knew whether intuitively or with a good guess what I was asking her.


"What? Makiko. Oh, Makiko."

I wasn't going to make this same mistake again.

I said very slowly to her thinking perhaps by carefully enunciating the words she could understand.

"My… name… is… Jim"

We had reached the top of the stairs and the upper level and had already accomplished a great deal. We began communicating. She was smiling now and for the first time I saw those dark eyes that had threatened to drown me before in their sea of madness, begin to sparkle.

"Jim san" She said as she took my hand in hers and we walked over to a facilitator.

Interracial marriages are very commonplace in The Unification Church. That's what Unification is all about. It wouldn't have been much of a stretch to assume that just as myself, this was probably the first time she had ever spoken to anyone who was not born in her native country. You would think that, "Well, okay, I think it's a great idea, theoretically that is, to bring people from different countries and cultures together and try to create One World under God. We all talk about it but how the hell do you practically make it work? Here you have two people from two countries who don't even share a common language being arranged in marriage. How can they talk to each other?

What good is an interracial marriage if they can't even communicate?

To be honest with you, that was the case of most of those men and women who were now facing each other as their pastor was getting ready to slam bang em' together. It would be one of the challenges they would have to face as a married couple. But let me ask you, what's more fearful? Sitting in a bar having a drink and hoping that guy notices you but realizing that he's really looking through you to that beautiful blond sitting next to you or sitting in the Grand Ballroom at two o'clock in the morning knowing that because of the faith and trust you've placed in God for these past few years since you devoted yourself to following this spiritual path, you're here waiting for the spiritual leader of your church to choose your spouse. You could try doing the bar scene and see what luck you have with that or you could take the thinking, the ego and all of the rationale out of the equation and leave it up to God. They kind of do that at, nowadays, don't they?

Luckily, these guys thought of everything. As Makiko and I walked along the carpet we were met by a Matching Facilitator. There were men and women, elder members of the church, who volunteered their services to translate for couples who couldn't speak each others language. Man, were we happy to see them.

Makiko was very pretty, enough so that it completely masked her age. She was 29 years old. I was 23 at the time. Whoa, that's a six years age difference between the two of us. This hit me very hard as I considered it for a moment. Regardless of what you have heard about the Unification Church, it is a myth that when Reverend Moon matches you it is binding and irrevocable. You have a choice whether to accept the match you are given and then either leave or take your place again in the Grand Ballroom.

In my book, "Tamara's Journey: The Purging Of A Tyrant", one of the characters, Helen Heinz, who is one of Michiko Tanaka's closest friends tells her of her experience when she went through this.

Reverend Moon had picked out a man for her but later on when they had a chance to talk she asked herself or her Higher Self if this was the man she was meant to marry. Helen got a no and then she asked if the man she is meant to marry is somewhere in this room. Again the answer was no. Then she politely spoke to the young man explaining that she couldn't accept this match to him. She then left the room, got her bags and headed back to Chicago to continue working on MFT until it was time for her to meet him.

I purposely wrote this into Helen's character to make a point. Sometimes even your present spiritual leader cannot make the right decision for you leaving it up to you to believe in yourself. This is one of my favorite parts of my book because it demonstrates a person such as Helen Heinz who has a very deep and honest knowing of herself enough so that even in the event when it would seem contrary to her faith to deny the decision made by her spiritual leader, The Messiah, for god's sakes, ultimately it is that divine light within her heart which is most important for her to really listen to. In Helen's case Reverend Moon made a decision for her. But when it conflicted with her Higher Self then she had to obey her Higher Self. That is a very scary step to take but then Helen Heinz is no ordinary person as you will find out when you read my book.

So, Makiko looked worried noticing my pensive demeanor as I thought this over for an entire five seconds. That brief interlude in my mind might as well have been an eternity. I was really hung up on the age thing. But, she was very pretty and something else struck me, gnawing at the back of my mind. I couldn't figure out what it was, like Déjà vu. But I'd never been in Japan before. How could I have Déjà vu about someone I didn't even know? Nevertheless, an age difference between us of six years didn't seem to be all that much so I accepted.

Makiko and I signed the registry and then we walked off together. I didn't realize how parched my throat was until we walked into the cafeteria. We were offered a bottle of Ginseng Up each and they were ice cold from laying in a plastic tub full of ice. What's Ginseng Up?

Oh just the Unification Church's version of the popular American soft drink. No, really, we do that too. We started a soft drink company in Korea many years ago. At first they were selling ginseng extract in these cute little bottles to make ginseng tea from. Very good and healthy for you too. Then somebody got the idea to make a soft drink with it. Dynamite stuff with a slight ginseng aftertaste but it's always better when served cold.

As we walked out of the cafeteria and downstairs into the lobby there were a lot of couples like us who had just gotten matched. It was like a love fest. Maybe true love fest? Oh, forget it. Anyway we still had the same dilemma. We didn't know how to talk to each other. You'd think because it was now 2:30 in the morning that we'd say, "the hell with trying to figure that out. Let's just go to bed."

Be careful how you interpret that previous sentence ladies and gentleman. Because the Unification Church has some strict rules about a couples behavior prior to marriage and they are some of the most stoic in human civilization. There is no sexual intimacy before marriage. And even after The Blessing all couples are expected to not live with each other until a certain period of time has elapsed, usually three or more years. And even when the couple receives permission to consummate their marriage and begin living together there is a special ceremony that they go through. It is called the Three Day Ceremony. I will explain that later on. In fact I might devote an entire article about it. It'll be cool.

So, time to go to bed? No way. Makiko and I were far from tired. We had both been through one of the craziest experiences of our lives which resulted in our betrothal. The night was young.

Makiko was looking around. Then she saw her. Quickly, she grabbed my hand and we dashed across the lobby to where a few Japanese members were sitting together. She saw her friend, Hiromi, that she had come on the plane over from Japan with. From the look on Makiko's face Hiromi was her best friend. Just as we came within their periphery of recognition Hiromi saw Makiko and her face lit right up as they both screamed expressing this emotion which you seldom see between people in the west. I think Makiko almost forgot about me when she turned, saw me looking a little confused and took my hand again. Then to my surprise, Hiromi began speaking to me in English.

"Jim san. I can translate for you and Makiko san."

Makiko motioned with her hand to a place a little more private. Then as the three of us sat down on the floor Makiko and I started to talk to each other for the very first time. At first I was talking to Makiko but while looking at Hiromi. That wasn't right. I needed to look into Makiko's eyes. It was like stepping off a ledge into the Abyss. I don't know why but those dark eyes just drew me in to this seemingly forbidding place at first. I lost track of my thoughts being almost consumed by her spiritual world. You see, when you look into a person's eyes, I mean really look deep into that iris and not let go but completely surrender and then let yourself go then something happens; at least it did for me. Suddenly the fear subsided and I connected with her heart and then she smiled and then I smiled. We were still talking to each other through Hiromi's translation skills but on another level we were communicating with each other's soul.

"Who are you, Jim san? You seem so familiar to me. Have we met before?"

"I'm not sure, Makiko. Wait…."

And in that brief pause I connected with the memory cells, my Akashic memory of a million lives that I've lived before. There was about five percent of those in which I lived with this soul who was in this particular life, Makiko Uto. Her soul name was Tamara.

"We're riding horseback somewhere, China? It's cold and we're both dressed in heavy cotton clothes. We're heading for those hills up ahead. Oh, my father is going to kill me when he finds out I've taken his favorite stallion but I had to be with Len."

"Len, you mean me?"

"Yes, your name was Len Ying and my name was Buoa Chou. We're betrothed just as we are again now."

Hiromi noticed that we were no longer talking but just staring into each other's eyes as if we were mesmerized.

"Makiko… are you okay?"

Well, that's what happened on a more ethereal level. Actually, at the time I wasn't aware of that. It was only when I was writing this article that I was able to access this alternate dimensional reality that took place between the two of us at that time.

That's what prompted Hiromi to return back to her fiancé. But being thoroughly tired we decided to call it quits and meet each other again the next morning. For the next week or so there would be a lot going on to prepare for The Blessing.

Jim was sitting down at one of the tables in the cafeteria having a Spartan breakfast of a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese. Not that he couldn't have chowed down on the scrambled eggs and sausage patty which was the main meal but he had a lot on his mind. Actually it was his subconscious mind that seemed to be pretty overloaded right now. After he woke up he raced right down to have breakfast thinking that he needed to get over to the E-sun so that he could get back to work. He had totally forgotten about what happened last night and just who it happened with.

She came up quite unexpectantly as he sat there with his back to the entrance way from the upper level corridor of the second floor section of the lobby. She then stopped about two feet short of his chair looking slightly mischievous. Then she lightly tapped his shoulder. She didn't wait until he turned to see her. But as his head turned following his eye to the left in response to the gentle prompt, she came around to the other side of the table.

She thought about wearing the same dress that she did last night. With four other women sharing the same room she wanted to quickly get ready and leave. But her dress didn't smell very fresh especially after being soaked with her sweat after being imprisoned in that Ballroom for over five hours. She needed to wear something else. She had a beautiful dress which her central figure had bought for her strictly telling her to only wear it for the Holy Wine Ceremony. But aside from the sweat-soaked dress from last night and the two pairs of blue jeans this was all that she had. Besides, she felt the need to express herself to him in a way that went beyond words which was the only mode of communication available to her at the moment.

"Hel… lo, Jim san."

She had been practicing it in the elevator lobby as she waited for the express to take her to the second floor and all throughout the ten second ride. It was phonetically flawless but it came out sounding provocative rather than sincere.

"Makiko!" He said as he swallowed that quarter of the bagel that he was eating without so much as a chew. Memory restored; he wasn't going anywhere now.

For much the same reason she wasn't very much interested in eating either.

"Jim san, come… please."

"Aren't you going to eat, Makiko?"

She looked up scanning the service counter. The smell of rice and nori wafting through the air. She turned back to him as she giggled putting her hands to her mouth, slightly embarrassed. She started to walk over but then he stopped her.

"Makiko, let me get it for you." He had spent enough time with Japanese church members that he knew what she probably preferred. It was a no brainer. He absolutely despised raw egg over white rice but he wanted to do this for her. But sitting patiently in her chair, Makiko was dreading the worst. She absolutely abhorred this breakfast that Americans seemed so infatuated with. However, she knew that when he brought it to her she would have to eat it. She didn't want to seem ungrateful and her limited vocabulary didn't include the words she would need to tell him what she needed.

She couldn't believe what it was that he placed in front of her. She looked totally surprised.

"Isn't this what you want?" He replied in response to her implied facial expression.

"Yes, domo arigato gazai… thank you."

All through her breakfast she kept looking up at him trying the best she could to figure him out. Then when she finished she dabbed the napkin to her lips. Then she recalled what she had wanted to do when she first came down.

She took his hand pulling him away from the table. "Jim san, come…come! As they neared the entranceway to the cafeteria Jim put up a minor protest.

"Where are you taking me, Makiko."

She stopped for a moment and then to her left she saw the entrance to the ballroom. They went over and poked their heads in to see if anyone was there. No way, there were several people in there working on some sort of preparation for the day's event. But then there was that prayer room up on the 32nd floor which she visited last night before going to bed.

"Up… my floor."

"You want to go up to your room, Makiko? I don't know. We have a really tight schedule today. They're going to be calling for all blessed couples…"

"Come, now… we have time."

Jim reluctantly agreed and led her over to the elevator.

"You forgot something. Is that it?"

"She put her hands to her lips when she considered his question as the perfect excuse she could use to get him to follow her. "Hai! I forgot. Come."

Reasoning that he didn't want her going up there alone, not wanting to lose her or for her to waste any time, he followed this seemingly mad woman on this crazy endeavor. 

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