The Words of the Kurtz Family


Phillip Kurz
June 1, 2009

Of course drinking is not approved of in the Unification Church. It is considered a cause for many tragedies suffered in this world and enhances one's ties to low and evil forces.

Growing up in Wisconsin, I was twelve when my brother and cousin snatched some beer from a neighbor's garage up in the North Woods. A beverage dominant in most group activities as a teenager. I almost never drank hard liquor and as time went by I drank less and less beer. First I would start getting sick at six beers. Then it became five, then four and soon a single beer was almost too much.

So when I joined the church, not drinking was not a problem for me. I did go out one night with a couple of church members I worked with in New York some years later. We went to a hole in the wall Japanese joint where the Saki seemed more the true fair than the food. My Japanese brothers had determined it a crime I had never had Saki. And I always wanted to know what Saki tasted like. So I had a cup of warm Saki; rice wine.

It tasted like warm wine.... made out of rice.

A taste was more than enough for me but not nearly enough for the smallest among us. We arrived back at the church receiving strong looks of disapproval though nothing was ever said.

Then there was the big night out after a long hard fundraising run. We dined on fine food and I ordered a desert with a fancy name and found it soaked in Brandy. All eyes, wide, were upon me as I ringed out the pastry like a sponge before consumption. I don't know why I thought that would make a difference. Another red faced giddy moment.

I wasn't going to make the same mistake in Korea where Soju, a Korean gin, was the traditional social lubricant. But when I was visiting Japan I was offered a Saki, with the consistency of oatmeal, at a Buddhist Temple. I took a sip, confirming the definition of Saki, all kinds of Saki, as alcohol.

There are plenty of people looking to say 'Aha!' if I would take the smallest of sips for a toast at social events. It doesn't bother me. It's more a reflection on them. So goes the extent of my adventures with alcohol.

I was a short time in the church when I was struck down with a fever. Just a fever. As I soaked my mattress and bedding through, they found I had a temperature of over 105. Only one person seemed to be concerned. I don't remember who it was that suggested a hospital. I had a fever of 105. Maybe it was him also. I wasn't taken to the hospital. But this one guy kept checking on me all day. Making sure I was OK.

He was a drunk.

He overcame his drinking and became a prominent leader in the Unification Church. 

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