Miscellaneous Unification Stuff
Blessing Qualifications 1995
For those who have been asking for what the official blessing qualifications are: Since I work for x n the x, I work with these guidelines. I guess I will summarize them for you. (They have been available from your state leaders, regional offices, and regional Blessed Family Department representatives. Ideally you should check there with any questions you have.) Application forms are available from those same sources.
- Single, never-blessed individuals -
Age: The minimum age requirement for matching candidates has just been lowered to: 20 for brothers (as of August 25, 1995), and 18 for sisters (as of August 25, 1995) .This means they should be born before August 25, 1975 and 1977 respectively. The news of this change was just faxed to the regional offices Friday. Prior to that, the age limit was 21 for both.
Term of church membership: Candidates must have signed full or associate membership form prior to submission of the matching application. As long as the Divine Principle Education qualification has been met, there is no set length of time required.
Divine Principle education: Candidates must be educated in Divine Principle until they:
1. Accept Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents
2. Accept the photo matching by True Parents
3. Pledge to keep their sexual purity
4. Pledge never to divorce.
[As you can see, these are not even as strict as the previous qualification, the equivalent of 40-day workshop content.] Accompanying the message lowering the age requirement came this additional advice: "These young candidates must be educated very strictly and sincerely about the Divine Principle, True Parents, and the Blessing."
7-Day Fast: all candidates should do a 7-day fast prior to the Blessing. (If someone has not done a 7-day fast, they will be allowed to apply for matching. They will then be asked to complete one as soon as possible.)
Celibacy: Candidates must be celibate from the time they sign membership. (If they have made a mistake since joining, the standard is that they have a conditional period of ONE YEAR celibacy prior to the matching.)
Medical exam: all matching candidates should have a medical examination. It is up to the church leader and/or Regional Director to approve the medical examination which a candidate presents. However, the following areas are mandatory:
1. HIV/AIDS test. Individuals who test positive for the HIV virus or antibodies cannot be candidates. This test must be performed within 6 months prior to a matching.
2. Sickle Cell Anemia: this test must be obtained by those in danger of being carriers, i.e., all dark-skinned individuals (not just blacks). (Carriers are not disqualified from the matching.)
Blessing offering: The offering is set differently for each nation or region. In the U.S., Father specified $2,000 per individual. (This does not include ring, wedding attire, or air travel to the site.) It is payable ideally in this way: $1,000 with the application, and then the balance at the time of the Blessing. If installments must be made, send at least $500 initially, with a written plan of when the balance will be sent.
- Special categories within this single group -
1. Candidates who are now single, but had been married in the past (or in a common-law, cohabitating relationship) in the past, are a special case sub-group within the singles category. This should be noted at the bottom of page 2 on the application; and if there are any children from these relationships, their ages should be listed there as well as who is responsible for their care.
2. Sisters who are 41 to 60 years old: The chances for sisters in this category being matched will be much greater if they can bring a spiritual son who is the same age or older than they are, and willing to be blessed together. These unique situations will be presented to Father.
3. Single members over 60 years old: chances are very remote that they could be matched physically. A Single Blessing (blessing to spirit world) is available, but not necessarily at this time. Individuals wanting this blessing may apply, but so far Father has not said they could be included in the August Blessing. Their applications will be held until such a Blessing is announced.
Now for the complicated part. I basically quote from the guidelines document, and later add my personal viewpoint.
- Previously Married Couples - Category
Definition: two people who were married to each other (legally or by common-law) at the time each of them met the UC, and have not divorced. There is no age qualification for PMCs. DP education, 7-day fast: same as for single candidates. Celibacy: up to now, the standard has been: "The ideal standard is continual abstinence beginning at the time that they signed membership. If that was not done, they should practice continual abstinence from now until the Blessing. The absolute minimum is 7 months, even if it is completed after the Blessing." We have posed a question to the powers- that-be whether we could say less than 7 years, as it actually became only 50 days for the last Blessing. The answer hopefully will come soon.
- Re-blessing Category -
Definition: those whose spouse clearly left the church and has been gone for more than one year. Father's guidelines are that if individuals who were matched or blessed together are both in the church, neither one can be considered for re-blessing, even if they have divorced. If a Regional Director feels otherwise about a particular situation, he must submit a "Special Case Recommendation Form," and present the case to Father personally.
Celibacy: candidates must be celibate from the time of the broken blessing (including complete fidelity within the blessed marriage). If the person falls after the breaking of the blessing, then their (former) blessing is anulled and they must serve the church and be abstinent seven years and then apply as a single member.
- Members who left church and returned category -
1. Members who left not having received Holy Wine:
A. If they come back as a single person: they must qualify as a single person.
B. If they come back as a married couple: they must have announced in front of a church leader their intention to fulfill a 7-year condition of abstinence and church service. After 7 years, they may participate in the Blessing with the previously-married couples group. HOWEVER, for this Blessing final determination of eligibility will be decided based on the recommendation from the Regional Director. (i.e., RD may decide to take responsibility for a lesser condition met, and propose it to Father.)
2. Members who left after receiving Holy Wine
A. If they come back as a single person: they must work for the church and be abstinent for 7 years, and then apply as a single member. They cannot be matched or blessed until after their former blessed spouse is re-blessed.
B. If they come back as a married couple: there has been up to now no dispensational condition for this category couple to be blessed. HOWEVER, again, Regional Directors will have the final recommendation for eligibility.
Other special cases which don't seem to fit into these categories should be presented to the Regional Director. In cases where the Regional Director or the couple wish to have their situation reviewed by the Continental Director and the National Blessed Family Dept., they should fill out the "Special Case Application Form" [available from state leaders & regional offices] and sent to Rev. Pak's office, c/o Betsy Jones, at 4 W. 43rd St., NY, NY 10036.
Now, I would like to add my 2 cents about why it seems so hard for these special cases compared to the relative ease of new contacts. It has to do with the merit of the age. Each member comes to the movement at a certain time in the development of the providence, which carries its own level of indemnity. We are always exhorted to offer as many indemnity conditions as possible, in order to make the way easier for those who come after us. My feeling is that throughout our lives, we will pretty much be always called on to offer that same level of indemnity at which we encountered the movement.
When I look at our early blessed couples, for example; the 36 couples, and in the US the first 13 couples, the 777s and even the 1800s: I see pioneers that have never ceased to sacrifice at a similar level to that at which they joined. They will always be pioneers, at every stage of their, and their children's, lives.
In a similar way, I think whatever conditions and qualifications were in effect when we were blessed continue to bind us throughout our lives. When I see that people who meet our movement now don't have as strict requirements as we had in our time, that represents to me fulfillment of my offering. [Of course, in conjunction with the conditions that True Parents themselves lay.] Rather than feel resentful of that, I look at it as my sacrifices bearing fruit; and I am happy to see it come.
For what it's worth.
In any case, the bottom line in all situations regarding the upcoming blessing, will be whatever the Regional Directors take responsibility for with Father. The key for anyone wanting approval for their situation or request will be the relationship they can create with their Regional Director.
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