The Words of the Kirkley Family

The Blessing -- A Personal Testimony

John Kirkley
September 1983

When I turned age 34, I realized that when I went before the throne of God, I should be shot because of my sins. Then I remembered that God has already given us eternal life, so my existence and the sin it carried could not be obliterated or forgotten; therefore, I would have to be restored through the Blessing; and for this to happen, God would have to give me one of his precious daughters as a wife. Then I felt the burden of my sin, not only to me, but to God. And yet there was also the consciousness of God's love for me and trust in the restoration of my original nature.

Going Through Internal Changes

So I began to pray, not to receive a beautiful sister, but that I could be worthy of the Blessing and become a good husband and father. During the next six months, I went through many changes during my internal course of preparation: Would I marry a Japanese sister? a Korean sister? a 300-pound German kitchen sister? a Black sister? (of course!) then (shudder) a white American sister? Could I accept a sister who was crippled and unable to have children? When I understood the resentment of women in spirit world who were never married or who were abandoned being crippled, I realized the necessity that such a woman on earth have a patient, caring, faithful husband to effect restoration, and that this couple would not be handicapped in the spirit world.

One Sunday morning, after Father's speech, I was waiting in the car outside the main house at Belvedere during the leaders' conference and I dozen off. Father and Mother were seated on golden thrones and wearing their white robes and crowns, smiling and talking to many of us, and yet particularly and personally to me. "We want you to have the happiness that we have." Then I understood that the ultimate purpose of the Blessing is happiness -- in relationship to God, to each other, to children, and to others.

On another occasion, Father was speaking at Belvedere and asked, "How many of you were married before?" Many had sinned, but only a few had been legally married, and only a few had the courage to raise their hands. But I knew what Father meant, and I raised my hand. "It is because of you that I had to suffer a first marriage that ended in divorce." The words were like a knife in my heart. I am not even sure they were spoken, but I heard them clearly in my inner self. How else could we be restored? Father, through no fault of his own, and deserving so much more, had to suffer this, for us. My repentance was deeper than ever before. Then Father asked, "How many of you, if I marry you, will have a better marriage the second time than you did the first?"

Seated in the middle only a few rows from Father, I shouted "I WILL!" Father looked right at me, and so did Col. Pak and almost everyone else in that room. And so did God. And so did Satan. They heard my words. Satan wanted me to fail; God, to succeed. This, I am sure, was one of the preconditions for my early Blessing.

"Unification Church Romance"

"Ours was a typical Unification Church romance," I tell people. "We were matched on Saturday, had the Holy Wine on Sunday, were Blessed on Monday, separated on Tuesday, and lived happily ever after!"

It's as true as it is funny. An elder sister had told me on Friday that there was a Blessing tor people over 30, and I was eager to go. Saturday was the lunar new year, and I had been distributing The News World in Chinatown since dawn. When I returned to the World Mission Center, two Japanese sisters were contemplating taking a cab to Belvedere, since no other transportation seemed to be available. I took the keys to Mr. Orme's car and drove them up. When I got out of the car for a moment, Rusty Anderson said, "John, come here!" Sara Cooperrider was on the phone to The News World trying to find out where I was so I could come up for the matching. Galen Brooks shook his head at the baggy ski sweater I was wearing (I hadn't had time to shower, shave, or dress), gave me his coat and tie, and ushered me into Father's den, where I kneeled in the back, trying not to look at the sisters.

Father told me to stand up and asked, "Who do you want to marry?" So I delivered the fruit of my six months of prayer, "Father, I don't care if she's tall or short, fat or skinny, black, brown, yellow, red, or white, so long as she has the heart of True Mother." (It took me a long time to realize that my responsibility and internal mission was to develop the heart of True Father.) Father conferred briefly with some of the leaders, looked me in the eye, and said, "You have a hard character and difficulty uniting with your central figure."

Immediately, I was on my knees, entering into prayer more deeply and more quickly than ever before, wondering what this meant: would I never be blessed? Had I lost my chance? I could not contradict Father, but sought understanding of what he had said. And the conclusion I reached was this: When you have a tough mission (I had been mostly fundraising), you have to have a tough character; but when you have a wife and children, you have to be gentle. (The matter of uniting with my central figure I tabled for several years.)

"Kirk! Kirk!" I vaguely heard from some place far away. As I came out of my prayer, which seemed like hours rather than seconds or minutes. there was the hand of David Kim motioning me to stand up. From the corner of my eye, I could see ankles, then the hem of a skirt (the same color blue as the dress Mother wore when I first met her), and, as I stood and looked up, my Second Messiah!

We went to the door of the room, and I asked her, "Do you want to marry a brother who is shorter than you?" and a couple other rather external questions like that. "It doesn't matter," she said. Then I could think of nothing else to say (a rare condition for me, my friends will tell you), and my mind was blank. "Don't you think we ought to accept?" she asked.

We did. And after that, we went and talked for three hours, sitting on sofas opposite each other in Father's library where all the books on the shelves were Divine Principle. And then we asked each other our names.

I wondered why she had asked me to accept, when we had both determined in our prayers long before the matching to accept Father's choice. We usually think the man should be the initiator, and I am rarely at a loss for words. But then I remembered that, since Eve had taken the lead, tempting Adam into the Fall, it would be spiritually appropriate for new Eve to tempt Adam into the restoration.

Later, at our Blessing banquet. Father told all the wives to make their husbands, who were sitting opposite them at the long rows of tables laugh. and he told the husbands to be stern and unmoved. My Marie shook her curls (I've rarely seen them since) and did all sorts of feminine things, but I remained stony-faced and then simply shut my eyes. Father said, "Now, husbands, make your wives laugh." So I made a wry face, lunged at my new bride across the table and growled. "Aarrghhh!" She burst out laughing. Then Father asked, "How many husbands laughed at their wives?" and most sheepishly held up their hands. "How many did not?" And then we stalwart thrust out our chests and held up our hands. "Stupid husbands!" he chided. "How can you expect to be happy in life if you do not let your wives make you happy?"

The Formula For Happiness

Then Father gave us the formula for happiness, "Wives, always say 'Yes' to your husbands." And we men were looking forward to this, remembering what St. Paul had said about obedience. But then Father added something we had not heard before: "Husbands, always say 'Yes' to your wives." We were crestfallen. It took me some time to realize that if each serves the other completely, only Satan will be miserable.

Later, I was selling The News World in downtown Manhattan. near the World Trade Towers, and I experienced, for a very long time, a kind of four position foundation above me in the sky: there was God at the top and center, and then True Parents on the right and left below, and then my wife centered below them and standing, reaching down to me on the street, to strengthen and encourage me in what I was doing, and to keep me connected to God and True Parents.

There are, of course, so many interesting stories and experiences which could be told, but these episodes reflect the key turning points or landmarks on my path to the Blessing.

In conclusion, I would like to suggest several understandings I have come to since.

First, the Blessing is precisely that -- something which comes to us by the grace of God and is never earned or deserved by us.

Second, once we receive the Blessing and are conditionally free of original sin, we still must take the responsibility for personal, ancestral, and collective sin, so that by our repentance and determination to change our habits (of attitude, feeling, thought, and action), as well as by our willingness to pay indemnity in fulfilling our missions and reaching out to others in witnessing, we can grow to perfection.

Jesus understood the principle of indemnity, but most Christians do not. "Take up your cross and follow me," he said, but most want to bask in simple salvation by faith in Christ crucified and resurrected, without taking the responsibility of their own cross, much less the suffering of persons around the world. After salvation comes Christian living, which begins with the dictum, "Go, and sin no more." Easy to say, often hard to do: but this is precisely our portion of responsibility.

Third, the Blessing is "conditional." We may live "happily ever after," but first comes indemnity and restoration: all the idiocies of male- female relationships throughout history must be successfully indemnified and restored -- by us!

Finally, to me, the greatest internal proof of the merit of the Blessing and the removal of original sin is the abatement and ending of lust or what Augustine wrestled with so deeply and called "concupiscence."

Father says that a man must look at a beautiful woman as he would a beautiful work of art, without personal desire. For fallen man, this is impossible, for this is precisely the nature of original sin, and the desire to commit adultery is always at work in the heart of fallen man (Divine Principle, p. 75). But with the removal of original sin through God's grace at the time of the Blessing, we can become men and women of original nature by taking the responsibility to live principled lives and disciplining ourselves not to lapse into the Fall once again. The experiencing of this change, and the freedom to have a proper relationship of original love with women, whether my wife or those in the position of mother, sister, or daughter, is, to me, the most profound internal proof of the Blessing.

And the greatest external proof is our children. 

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