The Words of the Clevenger Family
The last few years -- the "Final three years of suffering," [Black] Heung Jin Nim [Cleophas / Cleopas Kundioni] called them have truly been painful for me in that it had been increasingly difficult to find the fresh enthusiasm and purity of heart that I felt was a precious, core asset of our movement. Those who join the Unification Church have to be among the most fundamentally idealistic people on earth. Yet the perspective of many brothers and sisters had become tinged with cynicism, revealing the hurt, disappointment, and resentment that had accumulated from Satan's attack on our ideals. Our original mind's expectations for ourselves and each other -- leaders and members -- had been too often betrayed. I and many others were praying desperately for some sort of rebirth or revival, but we had no idea from where it could come.
Enter [Black] Heung Jin Nim. Through various mediums, particularly since the spring of last year, [Black] Heung Jin Nim has been sharing God and True Parents' heart and a "Principle common sense" that delights the original mind and provides specific guidance for our lives. When we in New York heard that he "was coming" to America in November in the person of the African brother he has been working through, there was a sense of excitement as well as a bit of trepidation and skepticism. A few days before his scheduled arrival in New York on November 17, through a channel [Black] Heung Jin pointed out with amusement that he's actually been here with us in America all this time. He's just "coming" now in a more substantial way through the African brother. He understands the confusion. He said that trying to explain how he is not limited in time and space is like trying to explain jet planes to a cave man!
His first conference in America was for leaders and their spouses. It began on November 18 at 10 am in the Grand Ballroom of the World Mission Center, the place where many of us had been matched and had participated in the Holy Wine Ceremony -- our first chance to be purified. What was going to happen now? Is this really [Black] Heung Jin Nim? What will he say and do? How can I allow God to do what He hopes to do in my life through this experience? When and how have I violated heavenly principles? Thank you that I could be here now...I think.
The conference opened with moving testimonies that helped prepare us to receive [Black] Heung Jin Nim. Several second selves who had been traveling with him described their personal experiences with him. Then Hyo Jin Nim spoke in tears about his own experience. "I have the most reason to be skeptical, but now I know it's my brother. Please receive him."
Fortified with this preparation, including guidance from Rev. Kwak, we enthusiastically greeted [Black] Heung Jin Nim. His core message: I like your original heart and mind, and I'm going to help you get rid of everything else. He told us the sins we needed to confess. Most things we knew, but some were a surprise to me. However, as I made my list of sins to confess, I realized that when I had done those things that I hadn't clearly known were sins before, my original mind had rebelled, at least faintly. I hadn't felt internally comfortable no matter how strong my justifications for the actions had been. The standard was so strict that I knew [Black] Heung Jin Nim was absolutely serious about building a pure foundation for heaven -- no compromise. I felt overwhelming hope that my yearning for genuine purity really could be fulfilled.
Then a most amazing process began -- one that was personal and yet collective and also supremely historical. I felt our confession could have great value not only for ourselves, but also for all those whose destructive habits we had inherited. Even more precious is to know that our children will not have to suffer the same corruption we did. There was challenge as well as beauty and wisdom in husbands and wives confessing with each other and with our other fellow sojourners through the wilderness. It's almost impossible to maintain a new standard of purity without the kind of support that comes only through sharing such a profound experience.
[Black] Heung Jin Nim explained that we should constantly pray for each other during the entire time everyone was confessing. Thus we began a marathon of chain prayer and singing of holy songs that lasted for about 13 hours. Before our chance to confess, we stood in line listening to each other take turns to publicly offer impassioned prayers of repentance, gratitude, and determination in preparation for meeting [Black] Heung Jin Nim. I searched through my own life repeatedly, wincing at the things I did wrong, very glad for what I hadn't done, trying to make sure not to overlook any transgression. I prayed all of us would find the power to make this cleansing permanent in our lives and lineages. I felt as though we represented a centuries-long band of wanderers finally come to the shores of the Jordan River, dirty and weary from our trek. We were gathering our courage to plunge into the purifying waters to begin again on the banks of Canaan.
The actual confession itself was very brief for each person. To me it was a bit like the matching, when Father had looked deeply inside us with an intuition beyond any horizontal perspective. [Black] Heung Jin Nim gave us our indemnity conditions in that same way. It was judgment -- but what we received was incomparably lighter than if we had gone to the spirit world with all those scars on our spirit and had to deal with our sins there. It was very good to feel that we could offer something to atone for how we had defiled ourselves.
After each couple confessed, we returned to the Grand Ballroom, where we kept on praying and singing and even danced at times because the spirit there was now much lighter. Underlying the variety of emotions people experienced after receiving their indemnity conditions, there was overall a real sense that we could now truly make a new beginning. Yet we knew we had to immediately build on the cleansing of our forgiveness and be very careful not to betray our original selves again. Even during the grateful prayers and lively singing, internally we were already planning how to reorder our lives. Any gaps in our lives left by eliminating our sins had to be filled with God's ways of relating to our spouse, of finding comfort and pleasure, and so on.
Once all the confessions were heard, [Black] Heung Jin Nim immediately began giving us guidance on how to be heavenly citizens. He created a family atmosphere, asking various people to offer testimonies and songs and even making sure that those who were eating (most of us were fasting) had food. His lectures on the Principle condensed the lessons of history and offered us much new insight. Certainly no one has ever had so much benefit of hindsight as we do now! I felt how precious it was for our forefathers, who have been so little or even wrongly understood all these eons, to be brought closer to us through [Black] Heung Jin Nim's personal experience with them. Hearing about the many failures throughout history, I could only marvel even more than before that our True Parents have had such astonishing success in the face of the incredible obstacles.
For many of us there was new hope for our blessed marriages. Not only did we have to confess and seek forgiveness from [Black] Heung Jin Nim, but, in essence, also from our spouse, since we had both confessed together. The resulting new intimacy made a good foundation to receive Blessing guidance from both [Black] Heung Jin Nim and from Rev. Won Pil Kim, who also spoke to us all [see his speech in The Blessing Quarterly, Winter 1988]. And the daily schedule [Black] Heung Jin Nim gave us provided the impetus many couples needed to incorporate shared prayer and study into our lifestyle.
[Black] Heung Jin Nim has come as a great equalizer and redresser. All of us have to become true children. No single nationality is superior or inferior. Satan attacks each one of us in the same basic ways. We all need to repent to God, True Parents, and each other -- both leaders and members.
[Black] Heung Jin Nim and his African "partner" gave their whole selves. Can we even begin to imagine the stamina required for [Black] Heung Jin Nim to deal with the painful garbage of 750 people as he did? It couldn't be much fun. His strength and willingness to make himself an total object to God is an example of what Father has shown all his life and of what we can aspire to if we match that same level of love, seriousness, and urgency.
True Parents' love for God and their passion to end suffering have been unmatched in all of history. Seeing this heart now being passed on to the True Children assures us that ultimate goodness truly will flourish throughout history. [Black] Heung Jin Nim is desperate to groom each of us for genuine "True Parent-ship" ourselves. Before we can really be True Parents, we must be True Children -- and now our examples are more determined than ever to help us.
It was heartwarming to see how many couples were eager to participate in the two subsequent conferences in Washington DC and San Francisco. That so many yearn for a new start proves that Satan cannot completely obliterate our original mind. Now we can see more clearly how to unite against our common enemy Satan -- rather than to allow him to continue to separate and discourage us.
I can only try to imagine how True Parents and the True Children must feel to have their son and brother return in substantial form -- albeit very different from how he looked before! The warmth and camaraderie between the True Family and [Black] Heung Jin Nim through the African brother -- and between him and all of us -- showed me the all-embracing inclusiveness of true love at this extraordinary time of returning resurrection. I felt a very special gratitude for this African brother, said to be a descendant of Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus' cross, for offering himself in such a way.
A child takes for granted his parents' love and sacrifice for him. To go beyond just receiving love and obeying to truly understand a heart that is much deeper than one's own takes real effort. For years we've heard about True Parents' course and been exposed to Father's words about the realm of the heavenly heart. Now we must ask more seriously than ever before what it is to not just hear or mouth these words, but to finally get to this realm of heart. One person told me that when [Black] Heung Jin Nim was with Father this time, they didn't speak much. They didn't have to, he said, because they understood each other on a level far deeper than words.
Father's praying to comfort God even in the midst of his own suffering has long been proof to me that True Parents exemplify the most filial and mature relationship with God that mankind has ever known. Now I see Father's children following his extraordinary example and trying to bring us along as well. Like Father, they don't procrastinate or wait for "someone else" to go first. A mature heart can't be bought with billions of dollars. The confession is certainly part of the process to get to this realm. Abstaining from sin is very important. But what more must we do to attain oneness with God and True Parents through the True Children?
This kind of intimacy is more possible and necessary now than ever before. I don't have all the answers but I do want to be continually asking sincere questions in my desire to share the heart of the True Family. [Black] Heung Jin Nim's prayer for himself and for us is that our motivation to do the right things come not from fear, or duty, or even knowledge that it's the right thing to do. His desire is that we know we are God's children and that we are so in love with God that we do the right thing because that's what makes us happiest. That's ultimately the power to be pure. I hope we will all meet in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth soon.